Oracle of Open Secrets: A Portfolio of Collages by Karyna McGlynn

A Process Note

My poetic and collage aesthetics are virtually identical: theatrical, technicolor, dream-inflected, darkly humorous, decidedly maximalist—yet also obsessive about finding the geometry within the excess. Both are gurlesque in that they explore serious issues of gender, ambition, violence, sexuality and spirituality in campy, provocative, and playful ways.

All of my collage work is analog: paper, scissors, found textures, and paste. My art is composed from a wide variety of sources—children’s books, vintage fashion mags, science textbooks, paperdolls, how-to guides, discarded coffee table books, employee manuals, fabric samples, paint chips, and old catalogs.

I’m exceedingly fond of trying to express a complex vision in the space of a single square or page.


Karyna McGlynn is a poet, collagist, and creative writing professor. She is the author of three collections from Sarabande Books: I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl, Hothouse, and 50 Things Kate Bush Taught Me About the Multiverse. Karyna holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in Creative Writing & English Literature from the University of Houston. Recent honors include a poetry fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing, a New York Times Editor’s Choice, the Rumi Prize for Poetry selected by Cate Marvin, and the Florida Review Editors’ Award in Fiction. With Erika Jo Brown and Sasha Debevec-McKenney, she’s co-editing the anthology Clever Girl: Witty Poetry by Women. She’s also designing a collaged tarot deck called Paper Arcana.