In addition to writing books for young readers, I'm also a poet. I have an MFA and a Ph.D. in poetry, and for many years I taught university writing classes. During graduate school, I even co-edited a poetry anthology of international women poets centered on the theme of peace.* You don't need a degree to be a poet. There's a lot of good poets out there who don't have one. But that's the path I took.
People often ask me, "Hey, Kristen, what are your poems about?" I'm going to be very honest with you. Poets hate that question. But since I get asked it so often I'm going to attempt to answer it. I write poems that tend to be about animals, Idaho, relationships, unusual events, the moon**, teaching, and love.
My poems have appeared in a bunch of literary journals and my first poetry manuscript, Half-Hazard, was chosen by the Poetry Foundation for the Emily Dickinson First Book Award. Graywolf Press published it in October 2018.
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.”
Follow this link if you want to read more about it.
If you follow any of these links, I’m warning you right now that you’ll encounter adult content and sonnets.
* A Chorus for Peace: A Global Anthology of Poetry by Women, edited by Marilyn Arnold, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, and Kristen Tracy, published April 1st, 2002 by University of Iowa Press.
** I have yet to meet a poet who hasn't written a poem about the moon. I can't explain it, but it's definitely a thing.