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
     
 

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I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl is film noir set in verse, each poem a miniature crime scene with its own set of clues—frosted eye-shadow, a pistol under a horse’s eye, dripping window units, an aneurysm opening its lethal trap. In otherworldly vignettes, 1994 pairs the unreliable narration of Jacob’s Ladder (with its

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Overview

I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl is film noir set in verse, each poem a miniature crime scene with its own set of clues—frosted eye-shadow, a pistol under a horse’s eye, dripping window units, an aneurysm opening its lethal trap. In otherworldly vignettes, 1994 pairs the unreliable narration of Jacob’s Ladder (with its questions of identity and shifting realities) with the microscopic compulsiveness of Einstein’s Dreams. The book’s sense of hypnotic premeditation brings Donnie Darko to mind as well, as poem after poem scatters the breadcrumbs of a murder mystery leading us further away from the present self and deeper into the past. I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl is an astounding debut collection that will crawl under your skin and stay there.

"I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl is a remarkable book. It is innovative, original, unprecedented, and, at the same time, its originality and innovation are predicated on a passionate, even obsessive relationship with the past."—Lynn Emanuel

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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

ISBN-13:
9781932511765
Publisher:
Sarabande Books
Publication date:
11/01/2009
Pages:
88
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author


McGlynn earned her BA from Seattle University and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan. She is the author of two chapbooks: Scorpionica (New Michigan Press, 2007) and Alabama Steve (Destructible Heart Press, 2008). Her poems have appeared in Fence, Gulf Coast, Willow Springs, Indiana Review, Denver Quarterly, CutBank and Ninth Letter. She lives in Austin, Texas.

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