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

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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  270 Ratings  ·  43 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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Best Poetry Books
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Best Collection of Poems by Living Authors
445th out of 458 books — 506 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 912)
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Farren
Dec 11, 2009 Farren rated it it was amazing
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
Nate Slawson
Nov 27, 2009 Nate Slawson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-time-faves
A cover-to-cover read, for real. Sit yr ass down & get lost. Fuckin do it.
Jim
Feb 22, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Unreformed goth girls and the boys who love them
Shelves: small-press, 2015
Really enjoyed how an examination of one's past is presented as a haunting, with the past haunting the author ("she wants me back in the cul-de-sac badlands") and then vice versa ("the rhinestone tiara retracted its claws"). Visceral and strange. I started this collection a number of times before I set it down to write something of my own, usually something about acid. (It's that kind of a book.) Very odd to stumble upon the poem "The Woods Are Calling But I Go To A Sleepover" in 2015 with the s ...more
Anya
Dec 03, 2014 Anya marked it as to-read
Okay, first thought upon reading the title- This certainly must be about Courtney Love because you know, haters gonna hate and whine about how she killed Kurt and blahlalala (actually, whenever I read/hear 1994, it kind of triggers Nirvana related thought processes). So yeah, I know I am rambling. :o
Michelle
Mar 06, 2010 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves:
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.
Robert Beveridge
Jul 18, 2011 Robert Beveridge rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 07, 2011 Matt rated it really liked it
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
Aug 08, 2010 Simone rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 25, 2010 Marci rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 09, 2010 D.A. rated it it was amazing
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 really liked it
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
Apr 15, 2014 Helen rated it it was ok
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
Mar 06, 2010 Juliet rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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/...
Brianna
Jun 08, 2012 Brianna rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
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
Aug 28, 2013 Katie rated it liked it
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
Karen
Nov 20, 2009 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-books
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
Mar 14, 2011 Natalie rated it really liked it
Shelves: genre-poetry
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
May 11, 2010 Craig rated it liked it
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
Feb 19, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
These poems tore a hole straight through my body.
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
Oct 29, 2013 Liam Guilar rated it it was ok
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
Feb 08, 2010 Aaron rated it liked it
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 really liked it
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
Nov 21, 2009 khatch rated it really liked it
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.

Michael Brockley
Sep 30, 2015 Michael Brockley rated it it was amazing
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.
Mark Ballinger
Mar 21, 2010 Mark Ballinger rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
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.
h
Mar 31, 2015 h rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed, poetry, 2015
stricken. stripped.
Stephanie
Nov 03, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: serious, poetry
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.
David Culver
Dec 05, 2012 David Culver rated it liked it
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.
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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
More about Karyna McGlynn...

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