I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl: Poems (Kathryn a. Morton Prize in Poetry)

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 isan 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

Reviews from Goodreads.com

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By Farren (Tuscaloosa, AL) · ★★★★★ · December 11, 2009
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 progres... ...more
By Jim (San Diego, CA) · ★★★★★ · February 22, 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... ...more
By Michelle (Santa Barbara, CA) · ★★★★★ · March 06, 2010
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... ...more
By Nate (Chicago, IL) · ★★★★★ · November 27, 2009
A cover-to-cover read, for real. Sit yr ass down & get lost. Fuckin do it. ...more
By Robert (Brunswick, OH) · ★★★★★ · July 18, 2011
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... ...more
By Matt (Columbia, MO) · ★★★★☆ · September 07, 2011
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... ...more
By Simone (Chicago, IL) · ★★★★★ · August 08, 2010
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 ph... ...more
By Marci (Austin, TX) · ★★★★★ · June 25, 2010
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 d... ...more
By D.A. (San Francisco, CA) · ★★★★★ · June 09, 2010
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 fo... ...more
By Lee (Portland, OR) · ★★★★☆ · November 14, 2010
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 r... ...more