What it Costs


What it Costs by Tracy Gaughan
Fool for Poetry Prize winner

Southword Editions, 2023, 32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-915573-00-1

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Tracy Gaughan lives in Galway. Her poetry has appeared in Southword, Crannóg and ROPES. She was a finalist in the Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award and was selected for the Irish Writer Centre’s Mentorship Program in 2022. That same year, her poem The Wild Purge was nominated for a Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. A former poetry editor at The Blue Nib Literary Magazine, Tracy holds an MA in International Literatures from the University of Galway and is the recipient of two Arts Council Awards. Her collective anthology, Pushed Toward the Blue Hour, is published with Nine Pens Press.

“Tracy Gaughan’s poems are achieved and perfectly pitched. From the first poem to the last, the reader is in safe hands. Her poetic voice is clear and true in poem after poem and she handles the material deftly and with ease. This is the first salvo from a serious poet and it is a pleasure to read such an accomplished collection.”
– Mary O’Malley

“Gaughan’s poems are rich and replete with a language that disrupts and subverts the status quo. What it Costs bristles with a striking poetic voice that weighs that cost precisely. This is brave and thought-provoking poetry that catches you off guard and leaves its mark.”
– Leeanne Quinn

“The first characteristic of Tracy Gaughan’s poetry is bravery. It takes courage to write from the honesty of language derived from the reality of the concrete image and courage to ask uncomfortable questions that determine relationships between genders – embodying what Adrienne Rich calls writing as re-vision. Along these lines, Gaughan sees poetry as an archaeology of emotion. The poetic image connects us with past realities, allowing ancient light to facilitate a conscious return to the experience of the present.”
– Andrea Cote

”What It Costs distinguishes Tracy Gaughan as a poet of exceptional talent. And as her poems draw on fairytale and historical fact to interrogate misogyny, unequal power structures and the male gaze, Gaughan’s lyric is indelible as poetry that is linguistically thrilling even when her themes are at times, devastating. Gaughan writes the kind of poetry I seek to read – unforgettable, unflinching, authentic.”
– Eleanor Hooker