Emily Dickinson First Book Award recognizes an American poet who is at least forty years of age


The Poetry Foundation announced recently that poet Kristen Tracy won its 2017 Emily Dickinson First Book Award for her manuscript Half-Hazard. The occasional prize (last awarded in 2012) is designed to recognize an American poet at least 40-years-old who has yet to publish a first collection of poetry. Tracy’s manuscript Half-Hazard, which was previously a finalist for the Yale Younger Poet Prize and a semi-finalist for the Walt Whitman Award and Sarabande Books’ Kathryn A. Morton Prize, will be published by Graywolf Press in 2018. The cash award is $10,000. Tracy was honored at the Pegasus Awards ceremony at the Poetry Foundation on June 12.

KRISTEN TRACY grew up in a small Mormon farming community in Idaho. She earned an MA in American Literature from Brigham Young University, an MFA from Vermont College, and a PhD in English from Western Michigan University. Her poems have appeared in more than two dozen literary journals.

“The Poetry Foundation is proud to recognize Kristen Tracy, whose manuscript was selected from more than one thousand submissions to this year’s Emily Dickinson First Book Award contest, and to partner with Graywolf Press in publishing these distinctive poems,” said Poetry Foundation President Henry Bienen.

In describing Half-Hazard, Jeff Shotts, Executive Editor at Graywolf Press, noted that it is “full of warnings and dangers, as well as wry observations, and also full of a kind of joy made sweeter by its being earned, lived, and perceived.” Shotts continued, “It’s a great honor for Graywolf to publish Tracy’s unusual and accomplished debut through our ongoing collaboration with the Poetry Foundation and the Emily Dickinson First Book Award. Discovering important new voices is at the heart of this award and the missions of both the Press and the Foundation.”

Tracy’s book, Half-Hazard, is scheduled to be published by Graywolf Press, fall  2018.  Meanwhile, you can visit Kristen Tracy’s website. She also writes for children, tweens and teens, so it’s a site full of cheer and color. Her Amazon page is HERE.


The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience.

The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit poetryfoundation.org.


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