I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl
publication date: 2009/11/01
trim: 9 x 6
price (paper): $14.95
ISBN 13 (paper): 978-1-932511-76-5
Erin with the Feathered Hair
She is standing in my living room
straddling her brother's outgrown Huffy:
she wants me back in the cul-de-sac badlands.
Hair freshly feathered, she is showing off
her air-conditioned underwear, a Weiner's six-pack,
stolen margarita lip-gloss in her snatching hand.
I know: it's hot and I never left.
She runs to my closet and cut all the necks out,
never asked and never will,
would I like a red cigarette?
When no one is looking, I twist in the sheets and—
what do you think? Am I a Roxy Music album cover?
I can iron out my voice, but still
I am field stock, body a rebar.
She yanks my freckles, my towhead out of hiding,
smearing my body in bright orange paint and profanity,
flinging open my cupboards and sneering,
What's in the shoebox? Something bad?
In the summer she unpeels my northern pretense,
leaves me quivering in a glitter tube-top
as she unlocks the liquor cabinet and gives me the keys
to the duplex kingdom she swears is rightfully mine.
Winner of the 2008 Kathryn A. Morton Prize, selected by Lynn Emanuel
"In an era of too much noisy straining after novelty, it's flat out enchanting to encounter an authentically original voice. Karyna McGlynn is the real thing, sui generis. And her poems proceed from an apparently inexhaustible fund of imagination: savvy and serious, straight-arrow and subversive, calibrated to the finest, freshest, idiomatic pitch. When I read McGlynn, I'm convinced I'm hearing news from the future of poetry."
"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. . . . To be a reader of I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl is to be a time traveler. Yet, no matter which life, body, or landscape one lands in, all exist on a shared bedrock of violence and suffering, albeit one presided over by a glittering imagination."
—From the Foreword by Lynn Emanuel
"Like the multi-faced, clairvoyant speaker of I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl, who is both breathing and buried, so McGlynn's poetic eyes are split: one serves as photographer, while the other acts as profiler. For her, every innocuous object has an ominous counterpoint: the bed as operating table; a farmhouse for eggs as killing site; panties as childhood emblem and crime-scene evidence. But, while her book documents various defacements and violations, ultimately the work highlights volition and reconstruction. McGlynn's poems exhibit such spark and voracity they feel channeled instead of penned; and though they may knock us slant into the pitch, they are lit with luminol, liberating what is hidden, and in the process, illuminating and transforming us."