Choking Back The Devil cover shot

Choking Back The Devil
Poems by Donna Lynch
Raw Dog Screaming Press
July 17, 2019
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Hey, it’s National Poetry Month! So what better time to review some seriously powerful books? Today’s topic is Bram Stoker Award Finalist, Donna Lynch and her excellent poetry collection Choking Back The Devil. This book is not easy to categorize as just one type of poetry. There’s horror, of course, but many other things weave their way through this complex web. Mental illness, trespasses of the soul, and a discovery of one’s darker self. Everyone has a dark side, but many try to hide it away and ignore it. But is that wise?

David E. Cowen’s foreword does a great job of prepping us for the fiery world we are about to enter. He points out that Lynch “Is the shadow in the night…That leads us to the line between horror and mental illness. There is a streetwise wisdom here. Lynch has lived this pain…and stops to tell us her story.” Basically, nobody is talking about tea and crumpets here. The beautiful brilliance of the sun is quickly forgotten as we plunge into dangerous darkness, afraid of what we might find. So onward!

The first selection in Donna Lynch’s Choking Back The Devil is Legend, a powerful prayer for victims of abuse. Those that victimize and hurt you may leave their mark, but will receive all they’ve given you, multifold in return. They’ll fall to their knees screaming while your shadow laughs triumphantly.

Sacrifice reminds us that maybe we’re not all in this together. Well, not at the same level, anyway. A witch is stealing children and doing who knows what with them. But one person offers to protect, gather, and save the little ones. She helps the children make a plan to stay safe. Little do they know that the devil is hiding in their midst.

I like Honey, how about you? It’s important for you to know where your honey is produced. Between allergies, tolerance to certain pollens, possible contaminants…But don’t you worry. The sisters in this poem have special methods to produce their very special brand of Honey. There is a satisfying flavor of retribution, mixed with the sweet taste of decay. And as long as you stay in their village, everything will be fine.

Hopefully you enjoyed this taste of Choking Back The Devil by Donna Lynch! This is FIVE STAR reading that you can enjoy many times, like an incantation to change and harness the darkness deep inside. While this fine book may be available from your bookseller of choice, they might not be willing to ship it for a long time. So, Raw Dog Screaming Press is currently doing something special on their website during the pandemic. You can shop and buy directly from the company who will ship your order right to your lonely little hands in this time of need. Just go to www.rawdogscreaming.com for more info! This is an independent publisher who cares a LOT about the speculative writing community and wants to do the most good by offering you the chance to support writers. So it’s a win for everyone! Need some tunes? Donna Lynch and husband Steven Archer also have a dark, electro-rock band, Ego Likeness. Check them out at www.egolikeness.com for more info!

Thanks for visiting Damaged Skull Writer! See you soon! 

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