Reviews in 200 Words

I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl by Karyna McGlynn

In Poetry on September 29, 2010 at 11:43 am



To say that this collection is packed with sensory detail is like saying the Ohio River is murky. Yes, it is. But that doesn’t come close to describing the constant stimulation of these poems. Unexpected things float by from time to time. This is non-stop death, non-stop killing. What’s more severe than that? These poems are creepy and addictive and somehow provocative. “A girl rode her red tricycle around the bottom of the pool / the pool had no water; it hadn’t rained // the girl kept smelling her hand / it smelled like honeywheat, or the inside of a girl’s panties.”  This is an ongoing suspense thriller; or, a series of thrillers, all with killer endings. These poems are funny, too; the kind of stiff sarcasm that you admire. Just funny enough to be that much more disturbing, in the most attractive way. These poems are like a vice: bourbon or porn—there’s no denying that they do a lot for you. There’s nothing out of place here: the calculations of a serial killer.  Many of these poems give the feel of a nursery-rhyme gone wrong, or a freaky fable. And certainly there are lessons here: bits of advice and warning. 

-Micah Ling

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