Choking Back The Devil – Donna Lynch
Reviewed by Miranda Crites
- Paperback: 98 pages
- Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press (17 July 2019)
Thanks to Donna Lynch and Raw Dog Screaming Press for providing me with an ARC and to the publicist, Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, for adding me to the reviewers’ list for this book.
Horror poetry? Yes, horror poetry. It’s one of my favorite things.
Coming in at just under one hundred pages, this book packs quite a punch. It’s filled with ghosts and curses, witches and legends, panic and fear, demons and monsters. And pain.
I sat and devoured this book, likely in record time. I couldn’t help myself. It pulled me in, dug in its claws, showed me its razor-sharp fangs, and we feasted together.
Donna Lynch has beautifully crafted these dark poems. They are horrifying yet beautiful. They ring true. They make me feel…they make me feel alive, spark a fire deep down inside me that sometimes is nearly extinguished. As dark and wicked as they are, they calm me, let me know I’m not alone, and bring me back to life.
Two lines from the poem, “Legend” specifically spoke to me.
“Because those painful things aren’t pieces of you they’ve taken
They are gifts given.”
Sometimes we need that small reminder.
I will cherish this book forever. When I feel anxious or sad, I’m going to pull this book off the shelf and read it again.
This review originally featured on Miranda’s own website which is here
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 and open doorways, cutthroats and shatter mirrors.
You see, these poems are small drownings, all those subtle suffocations that live in that place between our ribs that swells with panic, incubates fear. Lynch shows her readers that sometimes our shadow selves–our secrets–are our sharpest weapons, the knives that rip through flesh, suture pacts with demons, cut deals with entities looking for more than a homecoming, something better, more intimate than family.
It’s about the masks we wear and the reflections we choose not to look at, and what’s most terrifying about the spells is these incantations show that we are the possessed, that we are our greatest monster, and if we look out of the corner of our eyes, sometimes–if we’ve damned ourselves enough–we can catch a glimpse of our own burnings, what monstrosities and mockeries we’re to become.
So cross yourselves and say your prayers. Because in this world, you are the witch and the hunter, the girl and the wolf.
Miranda Crites is a reader, book reviewer, photographer, writer, and lover of horror from the ghostly woods of rural West Virginia. Miranda has always enjoyed reading, photography, and writing. She received her first camera as a gift when she was nine years old. The writing bug bit her at a very early age. She won the young writers’ contest in first grade and never stopped writing.
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