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Choking Back the Devil

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  22 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 98 pages
Published July 17th 2019 by Raw Dog Screaming press
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Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
Demons come in many forms
Some with teeth and some with horns
But none so vicious as the hordes
That came to be when you were born.

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 need it. I have to say, I think Donna Lynch may be my new favorite modern horror poet, because Choking Back the Devil was ab
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"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
Cassie Daley
“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
Tracy Robinson
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“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
Well Read Beard
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-books
Donna Lynch wants to entertain you, but she also wants to make you hurt. She wants you to be uncomfortable and afraid and unsettled. All that being said, she wants to hurt you with the smallest, most unassuming tool possible. ( Paraphrased from the afterword )

Donna did all this to me and more. This collection of poetry electrified me. I read the entire collection in a day. Honestly, I could have read the 94 pages in an hour. However, I took my time - reading and re-reading, slow, measured, out l
Jen (LOHF/Book Den)
If you've been on the fence at all about trying horror poetry, Choking Back the Devil is a great place to start.

This was my first time to read Donna Lynch, and it definitely won't be my last. I loved the poems in this collection, and I highly recommend Choking Back the Devil as a collection to try.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've read a lot of Lynch's poetry over the years, and in my mind this is her best book yet! There's something quite earnest about the messages here which avoid the trite trappings of horror in order to dig her poetic fingers a little more deeply into the gristle (just like on the cover art) and get at the truth beneath what they often mask. Her lyrical voice is omnipresent, while keeping the lines simple and ordinary enough to keep the messages clear. The supernatural appeal of her Witches colle ...more
Sara Tantlinger
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dark-poetry
"She stood tall upon the shores of hell / And set her pretty self on fire." -Donna Lynch's poetry collection is a beautiful exploration into the hauntings that can dwell both in the world around us and within our own bodies and minds. Each piece shares a new story of what it's like living with an incubating kind of darkness or fear that takes root in your mind and refuses to relinquish its hold on you. Lynch plays with language in a powerful way, showcasing her strengths as a poet who is particu ...more
Alex | | findingmontauk1
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
So good! 5 stars and full review to come!
Suzy Michael
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-books
*I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.*

Choking Back the Devil is my second journey down the lyrical prose rabbit hole with Donna Lynch and she did not disappoint! With just as much fervor and raw visceral imagery as 'Witches', Ms. Lynch solidifies her stake in the growing sub genre of horror poetry, describing the darkness that can dwell even in the most purest of souls, in a chillingly alluring and bloody soul bearing way.

Choking Back the De
Amanda (spooky.octopus.reads) Turner
"There is a fear, deeper than fear/ A terror we all encounter/ But there's no lovely mask on mine."

I don't think I've read anything that has been quite so beautiful, raw, and dark all at the same time. Donna Lynch truly has a talent like no other, and I'm here for whatever else this author puts out, even if it's just a line scribbled onto a diner napkin.

I first discovered horror poetry a few months ago, and I've been hooked since then. The cover first drew me to this collection, and then I read
MJ miranda_c_rites
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Thanks to Donna Lynch and Raw Dog Screaming Press for providing me with an ARC of Choking Back the Devil 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.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
"Demons come in many forms

Some with teeth and some with horns

But none so vicious as the hordes

That came to be when you were born."

-Introduction Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch


Let's kick off this review with 5 glittery black stars!!!

To start with, I wasn't too familiar with a lot of horror poetry- actually none at all to be more precise. That being said, I don't have a whole lot to compare it to, but that's ok. I just fell in love with the diversity of this creative wr
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This collection of poems seemed to speak directly to me.  Some of Donna's poems put into words feelings which I’ve felt, but never could express so eloquently. So even though all of the poems were darker in nature, they had an uplifting quality to them because it was like I was reading words from a friend which mirrored my own sentiments.

I like the structure of her poems.  In general her poems are very natural for me to read.  A good blend of what manifest themselves as concrete details and more
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful collection! I enjoyed taking my time, savoring each poem and letting it sink in for a few days. Review to come!!
Brennan LaFaro
This review originally appears as part of a Horror in Poetry Series at

Choking Back the Devil is very accessible to a person like me, lightly dipping their toes in to test the waters. Some of the poems have the rhyming elements I expected, most don't. Many entries read like flash fiction which I did not expect, but allowed some aspect of familiarity to guide me along. Sacrifice and Borderlines: A Horror Story in 7 Small Parts are prime examples of this.
Natalie 8luebird They/Them
Poetry is a very personal form of writing, the enjoyment of which comes from how well it resonates within yourself. The best kind of poetry is centred in ambiguity, allowing for suggestion and personal interpretation.

Horror poetry is a wonderful concept. Much of horror fiction has poetic nuances at the core by way of descriptive language, creating a rhythm that calls to your own inner song. But horror poetry is a different beast entirely. Whilst weaving the macabre into stanza and drawing forth
Donald Armfield
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Choking Back the Devil is worth every last breath. Horror Poetry is still here and Donna Lynch is choking it to death.

-Terror Management Theory
-The Horse, the Home
-The Loss of Gods
-Excerpt From Skinned (1999)

Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You can read my full review (and others) at

Honestly, every single entry in this book is my favorite. It’s about possession, and terror, murder, mental illness, and creeping dread – the kind of stuff that takes root inside you and then continues to grow and fester. These poems are so good. They skirt the line between external and internal horrors – what’s “real” versus “just in your head.”

You should definitely read this.
Simply Arden
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, non-fiction
4.0 out of 5

Find my full review on my blog, Simply Arden.

Quick Review

- Darkly inviting and introspective
- Great horror poetry book for the autumnal, spooky season
- Reading many of the poems left me thinking “Damn. Why’d you have to go there?”
- Enjoyed the poems in the first half much more than the second

In Depth Review

The poems leave you pausing to think about how they relate to the demons we all have inside us. I related to most of the poems, but a few fell flat for me towards the end. The poem
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really liked "Borderlines: A Horror Story in 7 Small Parts" and "Cry," but those are the only poems that stood out to me in this book. I wanted to like this collection more than I did or be rattled in some way while reading it, but to me it lacked the depth to do so.
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Donna Lynch is a novelist, poet, and musician currently living in Maryland. She is the co-founder along with her husband, artist and musician Steven Archer, of the industrial/ darkwave band Ego Likeness.
Her first novel 'Isabel Burning' was published in 2008 by Raw Dog Screaming Press, and her other written works include the poetry collections 'In My Mouth' (2000) 'Ladies & Other Vicious Creatures

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