I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl: Poems

I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl: Poems

by Karyna McGlynn

2008 Kathryn A. Morton Prizewinner, selected by Lynn Emanuel. Poetry with a Sonic Youth soundtrack.See more details below


2008 Kathryn A. Morton Prizewinner, selected by Lynn Emanuel. Poetry with a Sonic Youth soundtrack.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lurid, dominated by teen antiheroes, with plenty of underage sex amid a 21st-century Southern gothic atmosphere, McGlynn's debut is at its best vivid, disturbing and fun. Despite hints and feints, it has no consistent narrative; instead, it offers scenes, asides, interior monologues, fragments and portrayals of dangerous playmates and sexual awakenings: “death & sex tickle the same damn spot,” McGlynn warns. One of her clearest and best poems of memory is called “God, I Got Down There to Get Off”: “I'm flat on my belly, hand in my jeans—/ and how to say every penny has become the eye/ of a dead relative watching me?” With her adults either inattentive or ill-intentioned, McGlynn's strongest pages remember how she looked up to adventurous peers: “Erin with the Feathered Hair,” for example, who “unpeels my northern pretense,/ leaves me quivering in a glitter tube-top/ as she unlocks the liquor cabinet.” Conscious of precursors in popular film, McGlynn may not always avoid cliché. Yet her experiences crackle with life, and her best lines know when to stop, when to set out sexy facts and when to reach for verbal ornament, distinguishing her work from anything merely confessional. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Part film noir, part horror flick, these innovative poems dwell in the cul-de-sac badlands where crimes and heinous misdeeds are recurring. McGlynn, a performance poet and author of three chapbooks (including Small Shrines, 2009), offers poems in alternating views while tangling reality, time, and space. The book's motif is not connected to one central offense, yet each poem spins into the next to create a unified, albeit disturbing, whole. As in a horror film, there is danger skulking in every corner, in every seemingly benign doorway. McGlynn's poems are often hypnagogic, balancing half in the world, half in sleep. Along with masterly line and stanza breaks and the use of white space, McGlynn uses nuances that include poems written crosswise on the page. One poem reads, "I cannot see/ the sickness, the three seconds that will snap her/ down like a switch, there/ her vision cracks like I'll always be/ the thing nascent, esophageal/ caught mid-gargle in the black." VERDICT Recommended for contemporary poetry collections.—Karla Huston, Appleton, WI

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Product Details

Sarabande Books
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6.30(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

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