Poet Karyna McGlynn grew up in Austin, Texas, and earned a BA at Seattle University and an MFA at the University of Michigan. She received a Presidential Fellowship for her doctoral studies at the University of Houston. Her debut collection, I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl (2009), won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize from Sarabande Books. Her work has been featured in the anthology Best American Nonrequired Reading (2010).

McGlynn uses psychological ephemera, pop culture, and improvisational plot to investigate danger and human longing. “Part film noir, part horror flick, these innovative poems dwell in the cul-de-sac badlands where crimes and heinous misdeeds are recurring,” noted Karla Huston in Library Journal. “McGlynn […] offers poems in alternating views while tangling reality, time, and space.” In an interview for SHARKFORUM, McGlynn noted the importance of temporality to her work: “The past is always present in my writing. […] We are not purely products of our own time—we are a decoupage of memories, both individual and shared.”

A member of five former National Poetry Slam teams, McGlynn has served as the organizer of the Houston Indie Book Fest and as managing editor of Gulf Coast. Founding coeditor of the poetry journal Linelinelineline, she lives in Houston.


Karyna McGlynn Poems

A Red Tricycle in the Belly of the Pool

the live oak over the nursery got a disease
they could only save one limb
it wasn't surprising; it wasn't that kind of nursery... more »

Before Anything Happened the House Had No Skeleton

the termites had deboned the thing
it was clean there was no saving it

in one bedroom a dresser with blue drawers... more »

I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl

It's no wonder I'm always tired with all these tract houses—
It's night & cold
on my belly in the undeveloped field now... more »

Karyna McGlynn Quotes

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