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

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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  205 ratings  ·  38 reviews
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)...more
Paperback, 74 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by Sarabande Books
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(showing 1-30 of 641)
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Farren
This is not a noir murder mystery. This is a book about the peculiar loathing of and desire to murder the childhood self. The narrative reality and chronological progression is fractured--the poems surface in just the same way that thoughts and memories do, in an unpredictable associative progression. Childhood, puberty, sexual violence, fake wood-paneled rec rooms, slumber parties, panties, dead horses. This book activated all kinds of mewling childhood memories. Will have to re-read and re-rea...more
Michelle
It seems like there are a number of new books by younger poets who engage with adolescence in an oblique virgin suicides meets-twin peaks meets- rainbows, rollerskates and unicorns-meets lolita type darkness. My impression is that these books are influenced by the "gurlesque," but I'm not sure if they are "gurlesque" poets. At any rate, I'm hoping to check them out.
Nate Slawson
A cover-to-cover read, for real. Sit yr ass down & get lost. Fuckin do it.
Robert Beveridge
Karina McGlynn, I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl (Sarabande Books, 2009)

“I wake up somewhere in Ohio. Or, that's how it smells—“

While much is made of the first sentences of novels, no one really thinks all that much about first lines in a book of poetry. Maybe because a book of poetry is a collection, rather than a single work, in many cases. (And I bet half of you who can recite a single first line of a poem can do it from a book-length work, either Inferno, Paradise Lost, or Canterbur...more
Matt
This book really is as tasty and interesting as the reviewers say: a collection of poems that seem to sketch out a coherent centered narrative (young woman is sexually abused, and this experience darkens her subsequent life, even to the point of contemplating the title act), it is a lot more than a strictly realistic and harrowing journey-- someone called it a noir, and while I'm not altogether ready to go there, I do think there's sufficient distance here to make something artful out of the abu...more
Simone
I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl’s anthem could be “there is so much I want to prevent” and so the poems run interference between the living and the dead, and like the multi-faced, clairvoyant speaker who is both breathing and buried, so McGlynn’s poetic eyes are split: one serving as photographer, while the other acts as profiler, so that we are witness to what occurs within, and beyond, the frame. Working in a lyrical investigative mode, often using a columnar fragmentation, in which...more
Marci
This book is like a Bible. I plan to leave it in my nightstand drawer and pull it out when I need a sense of existential awarenss; for that is my religion and so this book suites me. I have had it on my 'currently reading' list for quite some time because I am never really done. But alas I have decided to do some housekeeping and so am moving it to my read list. However, even though I have read it cover to cover (a few times) I don't feel like I'm done. All these hidden gems and the writing...!...more
D.A.
Okay, I know I rave about a lot of books. But I only really write about books that are worth reading a second or third or eighth time. And this book truly is worth raving about.

This poet is edgy without being distant from the edge. She's formally innovative, though sometimes frankly I find the formal choices distracting. But that's probably the pot calling the pot a pot. She has a keen ear and a keen eye; she drops you into the middle of the poem's logic and reality, and it holds. This is one of...more
Lee
Nov 14, 2010 Lee rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
First book I picked up as an example of "gurlesque." Rough and driven as a collection, lots of deliberate narrative vertigo; still hard to pick out a single poem that has the power to hint at the general effect of the collection together. Guess I'll have to hope the people I recommend it to are ready to read the whole book.
Helen
Modern poetry has been following this trend for awhile, where lines are written in columns, as if in a newspaper, or concretely, or adding lots of space between words and phrases. Sometimes this works. Sometimes it adds something to the meaning of the poem. And sometimes it's awful, it makes no sense artistically, and muddies up the meaning poetically. In Karyna McGlynn's "I Have to Go Back..." we get a little bit of both.

The book contains poems that follow a more traditional form of blank vers...more
Juliet
My long review of this darkly delicious poetry book can now be read online in the lastest issue of Gently Read Lit.-- http://gentlyread.wordpress.com/2010/...
Heather Moss
4.5 stars, really. I'll add to this review after I think about it some more and re-read the book; I am writing about it for a class assignment.
Brianna
This title was suggested to me by my Stand Up Poetry professor when I asked him if there were other things outside of our anthology that I should be reading. Because of the recommend-er, I figured that the subject matter would be humorous. Judging the book by its cover, I realized that I was mistaken.

(Brianna enters her local library and retrieves her poetry books from the inter-library loan shelves. On top of her pile is a book of poetry by Karyna McGlynn. She slides her stack of books onto the...more
Katie
Not sure what to say about this book. It has a great title! Unfortunately it didn't meet my expectations. I guess I was expecting a book of poems that created a story from the title. Maybe it was just me, but these were the most frustrating poems. Maybe they are what other have called "innovative." To me they were just plain frustrating. Don't get me wrong, I love abstract poetry. What I don't love is poems in a format that you HAVE TO read them forward, backward, sideways and skip lines to unde...more
Michael
This poetry had some brilliant lines, and some clever experimentation, but ultimately, I had no idea what was going on. (!) This is not something I enjoy in my poetry, although perhaps others do.

I would give you some of my favorite quotes, but it was a hard book to find, and I spent $3 just borrowing it from an out-of-town library and had to return it, and I don't want to do that again. My personal rating was 2 stars but I did bump it up to 3 stars based on the notion that this author seems to b...more
Michael Brockley
I Have to ago Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl by Karyna McGlynn is better than this reader. Each of the cryptic poems in the book contain clues with suggestions of family violence and a lesbian relationship that either went bad or was salvaged. This book warrants re-reading. Maybe during the two weeks leading up to Halloween.
Karen
As Lynn Emanuel says in her introduction, "To be a reader of I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl is to be a time traveler." Karyna McGlynn's collection of poetry tells a story -- but not in a traditional sense of clear beginnings and absolute endings. Instead, her book leaves the reader with a clear picture of the crime, yet surreal, almost fuzzy images of the victims and the criminals. I have to admit that I have read the book twice, and I still don't have all the answers to the questions...more
Natalie
Noir poetry. Something I don't liked mixed with something I do. So, not quite chocolate in my peanut butter. Maybe anise in my creme brulee? In any case, the noir worked for me in this slim volume of poetry. The depictions of death were... well, would it be redundant of me to say poetic? Everything was very immediate, yet distant; full of life yet all shades of gray. First person, once removed, I'd say, if I'm going to be making things up. It wasn't "I" and it certainly wasn't "you" nor "she." I...more
Craig
I'm just not sure what to say about this collection.


I was absolutely fascinated with the multi column poems - particularly the early ones. The fact that you can read each piece several ways obviously took a lot of revision and several of them seem brilliant.

However, I just felt that a lot of the poetry in the book came off as flat (and in my opinion,) poor poetry. I really hate to say that, but I was just incredibly underwhelmed with a lot of the book. It didn't feel like a cohesive collection...more
Mary
These poems tore a hole straight through my body.
Stephanie
There are nasty, dark and dreadful horrors seeping up through the cracks (line breaks) in these poems. After reading, I'm still wondering about trauma and it's immediacy. I liked "Oh, You Really Don't Want to Go into the Library" and the title poem. Really raw.
Margo R
I feel like poetry is very often a hit-or-miss kind of thing. Karyna McGlynn's poems are well-crafted, but just not the kind of poetry that I enjoy. So I feel kinda bad giving this book a two star rating, because while I didn't really enjoy it, people with different preferences definitely will.

Side note: the two-column poems, and the ones where she experiments with spacing, are very interesting from a craft standpoint. Those where the ones that I enjoyed the most, because of the novelty of what...more
Liam Guilar
While reading this I couldn't get Selima Hill's 'Bunny" out of my head and the comparison did not favor this book. Hill's book is disturbing, and a model of suggestion and striking images and lines. This one does typography to signal "Experimental" or 'innovative" without ever doing anything that hasn't been done before and done better. The introduction tries to make a case, but gets lost in its own contradictions.

Great title though. Made me buy the book
Aaron
A very interesting work. Very "Donnie Darko"-esque. It's moving, the way she wants to destroy her childhood, warn it, make it better. The form she employs takes risks and is original, letting language do most of the work; however, this might repel newbies to poetry, making them feel that too much is being left unsaid/unexplained since it's so fractured. Overall though, a good book.

Favorite Poem: Glass Backlog
Molly
Nov 24, 2012 Molly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poems
bangs like birds' nests (11)
there were spiders hatching inside her mattress / we said that's not what's hatching (49)
The AC slowly began / to play Suck & Blow (65)

poem to use for writing exercise (a call & response):
"When I Came to There Was a Pearl and a Fish Hook" (20/21)

loved the voice / the humor in:
"Would You Like Me to Walk Your Baby?" (36)
khatch
i wasn't superduper into the narrative/mystery/setting (as the intro seems to be, all talking about autobiography and shiz) but i dug the voice and i reallydug the poem "would you like me to walk your baby." it ends: "my enormous breasts, my pointy, pointy shoes" which really is just heavenly. this book makes me look forward to her next book.

Mark Ballinger
Some quite nice work here, with many example of good poetry and nifty use of language. There are too any two column poems, where the reader has to jump between the two while reading.

Thematically, the poems are really well chosen. Many contain good stories within some splendid imagery.
David Culver
I like the imagery, and the poems, but at the same time, I am confused by each poem's set up. I'm not always completely sure where to start or finish.

I expect this is primarily because this is only the third book of modern poetry I have ever read.
Tuck
for all modern age hipsters out there, complete with kate bush lyrics, lots of eels, red pencils, donnie darko imagery, packages of panties; its a noir mystery that takes you back in time step by step, poem by poem.
Laura
the sounds my head makes when I read her phases delight me to no end. the vibe of nostalgia for lost places and people found and unfound is devastatingly beautiful.
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Karyna McGlynn grew up in Austin, TX. She studied at Seattle University and received her MFA from the University of Michigan, where she was awarded the Zell Postgraduate Fellowship in Poetry and a Hopwood Award. Her first book, I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl, won the 2008 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry and is forthcoming from Sarabande Books. Karyna’s recent chapbooks include Scorpio...more
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