Choking Back the Devil

Choking Back the Devil

Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch is an invocation, an ancient invitation that summons the darkness within and channels those lonely spirits looking for a host. It's a collection that lives in the realm of ghosts and family curses, witchcraft and urban legends, and if you're brave enough to peek behind the veil, the hauntings that permeate these pages will break seals...

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Title:Choking Back the Devil
Author:Donna Lynch
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Edition Language:English

Choking Back the Devil Reviews

  • Cassie Lola (holo.reader)

    “There are so many things that I don’t have a place for on paper / so they float in my bloodstream.” – pg 78, Excerpt From Skinned (1999)

    In the last year, I’ve read a lot of horror themed poetry, all of which has blown me away. I never realized such a thing existed until recently, and finding other people that share my love of morbid eloquence has been a great experience for me. Not only have I discovered a new way to appreciate and absorb my favorite genre, but I’m also constantly finding new v

    “There are so many things that I don’t have a place for on paper / so they float in my bloodstream.” – pg 78, Excerpt From Skinned (1999)

    In the last year, I’ve read a lot of horror themed poetry, all of which has blown me away. I never realized such a thing existed until recently, and finding other people that share my love of morbid eloquence has been a great experience for me. Not only have I discovered a new way to appreciate and absorb my favorite genre, but I’m also constantly finding new voices in horror that I hadn’t yet discovered. My personal library is growing, and I’m loving it!

    One of my most recent acquisitions in the horror poetry category has been Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch. Although I hadn’t read anything by Lynch until this point, the blurb on the back and the cool cover art really sold me on wanting to get this one. I’m very glad I did, and I’ll be checking out more from her in the future for sure! I loved her writing voice; forceful and potent, her words seemed to leap from the pages, pulling me in whether I wanted to or not (I totally did!).

    “Name yourself / Let them call you from the mirror / in the dark / Let them set you free / Then rip them apart” – pg 13, Legend

    I loved this collection, and enjoyed the ways it stood out from some of the others I’d read recently. Horror can be found in so many different places, and I really liked that the focal point through a lot of these stories seemed to be personal demons, and mental health struggles. Murder and ghosts and things are definitely terrifying, and I love reading about them, but I also enjoy a good be of introspection when its done well; I’m happy to say that Lynch has definitely done it well here! The inside of our minds can be a very unsafe, unsettling place to be – and what better atmosphere for a horror writer can there be than that?

    “… And there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being held from / the inside” – pg 24, The Horse, The Home

    I related to a lot of the different themes throughout the book, and Lynch’s writing is engaging and fluid. Some of the themes that I didn’t really relate to currently, I could easily think of situations or times in my life when they could have or would have been more applicable. Although I don’t know Lynch personally, it feels like she’s someone I knew or know – maybe someone I’ve been. Relatability and the skill it takes to convey specific emotions through a few short lines are a couple of common factors I’ve found between some of the great poetry I’ve loved, and I’m adding Lynch to the ever growing list of authors that I feel good about recommending for those interested in maybe broadening their reading a little bit.

    “Don’t breathe her to life / And make her feel real / Just to blink her away / In your sleep” – pg 37, She’s A Dream

    There were a couple of pieces that weren’t as strong to me as some others, or that I felt maybe could have been a bit more fleshed out or built up. But the favorites I had vastly outweighed any that I lacked a personal connection with. I used my favorite rainbow sticky tabs when reading this, and out of just 90-something pages, ended up marking over 20 of them, or lines that really stood out to me. I love the visual representation sticking out of my books with how often I was touched by something, or given specific “feels” from a passage or quote. For a writer to be able to do that in a format that can be limiting in terms of space/size is really impressive.

    I loved how Lynch’s bold writing tone contrasted with the almost ethereal, fairy tale-like feeling of some of the poetry. Her specific kind of horror is evocative and powerful, and the collection as a whole was compelling and emotional. This was a solid book that I’d recommend and will likely revisit a few more times in the future. My copy is already a little worn from how many times I’ve flipped through it, searching to reread something or other, which is how you can tell I really enjoyed it! I’m very excited for more from the author, and can’t wait to continue on my journey of horror poetry!

  • Tracy Robinson

    “The horror novel may be hundreds of needles inserted into the flesh over the course of days or weeks, but the poem - if done right - can be an ax to the torso” (94).

    This exactly. I loved this brutal, beautiful horror poetry from Donna Lynch. Almost all of these pieces were 4-5 stars for me. The longer ones are stunning; however, it was the brief ones that damaged me. The selections of just a few lines, or even a single page, boast an unparalleled stark brutality.

    Lynch was nominated for a Sto

    “The horror novel may be hundreds of needles inserted into the flesh over the course of days or weeks, but the poem - if done right - can be an ax to the torso” (94).

    This exactly. I loved this brutal, beautiful horror poetry from Donna Lynch. Almost all of these pieces were 4-5 stars for me. The longer ones are stunning; however, it was the brief ones that damaged me. The selections of just a few lines, or even a single page, boast an unparalleled stark brutality.

    Lynch was nominated for a Stoker for her collection WITCHES last year; and if my reaction to CHOKING BACK THE DEVIL is any indication, she’ll be there again in 2020 as well. My favorites

    include:

    Terror Management Theory

    Race

    You, Alone

    My Incomplete Children

    Succubi

    Treat

    Visitors

    Woman

    Hunger

    You Knew

    Cry

    You Are Not You

    Doll

    Want a short read with all the impact or more of a longer horror novel? Read this one. The monsters are real, both internal and external ones. Trust me.

  • Emily

    "Every ugly thing needs a home, and the space inside your / head works nicely."

    Choking Back the Devil is the second collection I've read from Donna Lynch, and I loved it so much! These poems were gorgeous and haunting, and I really enjoyed my time reading them. I found this collection to be honest and easy to connect with.

    My top 5 poems were All the Things They Never Tell You, Doll, Honey, Borderlines: A Horror Story in 7 Small Parts, and You, Alone. It was hard to narrow these down because I l

    "Every ugly thing needs a home, and the space inside your / head works nicely."

    Choking Back the Devil is the second collection I've read from Donna Lynch, and I loved it so much! These poems were gorgeous and haunting, and I really enjoyed my time reading them. I found this collection to be honest and easy to connect with.

    My top 5 poems were All the Things They Never Tell You, Doll, Honey, Borderlines: A Horror Story in 7 Small Parts, and You, Alone. It was hard to narrow these down because I loved so many.

    Choking Back the Devil was exactly what I needed, and I can't wait to see what Donna Lynch does next!

  • destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    Two of the literary genres I will never stop reaching for — in fact, they were the two genres I cut my teeth on as a young reader, so many years ago now — are horror and poetry. The two don't intertwine nearly often enough, but when they do, I

    it. I have to say, I think Donna Lynch may be my new

    modern horror poet, because

    was abs

    Two of the literary genres I will never stop reaching for — in fact, they were the two genres I cut my teeth on as a young reader, so many years ago now — are horror and poetry. The two don't intertwine nearly often enough, but when they do, I

    it. I have to say, I think Donna Lynch may be my new

    modern horror poet, because

    was absolutely incredible.

    A lot of horror poetry is dark without much

    to it, but that's not the case here at all; if you find yourself easily frightened or squeamish, I wouldn't even hand you a copy of this collection, because it offers up scenes that are downright unsettling. There's body horror and gore coupled with ghost stories and possessions, but most of all, there are endless reminders of the scariest demons of all: the ones living inside our own heads.

    As someone who has fought my own inner demons for nearly my entire life, there was so much in this collection that both set me on edge and made me feel incredibly and utterly understood. Donna Lynch

    mental illness in a way most writers can't express on page, for better and for worse — as the imagery in some of these poems made me close my eyes, take a deep breath, and steel myself for the next lines. If you're someone who tends to be upset by

    or anything along these lines, please proceed with caution. That said, I cannot recommend

    highly enough, and am already itching to read more of Donna Lynch's incredible words.

  • Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror

    Horror poetry is a recent discovery for me. I didn't know I needed it until I tried it and now I can't live without it. All of the many voices I have listened to so far are identifiably individualistic. I think that if someone were to give me a blind taste test--I could sample a poem with only my ears and my heart--and I could tell you who wrote it (of course only from the horror poetry artists I've read before).

    Donna Lynch is lyrical, yes, but she also teeters on the edge of flash fiction and f

    Horror poetry is a recent discovery for me. I didn't know I needed it until I tried it and now I can't live without it. All of the many voices I have listened to so far are identifiably individualistic. I think that if someone were to give me a blind taste test--I could sample a poem with only my ears and my heart--and I could tell you who wrote it (of course only from the horror poetry artists I've read before).

    Donna Lynch is lyrical, yes, but she also teeters on the edge of flash fiction and folklore.

    Some of these poems feel like they could reside in a collection of dark fables-there is magic and ageless quality.

    Example:

    "When I was a child I had a little house up the hill from the goat.

    The serpent lived there in the wall, next to the shed.

    I let him be as he stayed quiet.

    We would track mud and dirt into the little house

    and the spiders took up housekeeping in the summer."

    Other poems read like disturbing journals:

    "I let the madmen practice on me

    How far I can stretch

    How deep do I go

    How well do I hold up under certain conditions"

    I think my favorite thing to do is to read a poem two or three times and then meditate on it before moving on to the next one. Almost like you need to wipe clean, the mess the previous poem left in your mind.

    I enjoyed this collection. Lynch writes like these words are attacking her from the inside. They are unflinching, raw, brutal, fearless and daring.

    I applaud Raw Dog Screaming Press for being out in front of the pack when it comes to publishing horror poetry collections. I hope we can see more and more artists venturing out from the woodwork and giving us their unique, dark gift of words.

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