‘Girls From the County’: a new favorite collection merging dark poetry & true crime

August 8, 2022

TITLE: Girls From the County
AUTHOR: Donna Lynch
GENRE: Horror/Poetry
PAGES: 118pg
PUBLISHER: Raw Dog Screaming Press

This book is merely a record of dark events, the kind that you can sometimes move on from, yet can’t help but see in every old house, high school, or crumbling bridge.

In the county, eerie stillness can be mistaken for stagnation. In the county, rumination on pain and guilt can be confused with omens and curses. In the county, feelings of claustrophobia stem from understanding what the encroaching darkness brings with it.

You’ve heard of country girls, and city girls, but what of the forgotten girls from the in-between space of the county? Confronting the things too wild for urban areas, and too methodically malevolent for the countryside, girls from the county are often dismissed by popular narratives, left to solve riddles of grief and rage for themselves.

Known for weaving folk horror with confessional poetry, unflinching true crime approaches with myth and fable, contemporary appetites with gothic literature, award-winning author Donna Lynch has composed a lyrical reconstruction for readers to navigate the lives—and deaths—of girls from the county.

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Everything that dies
and I want that to be as true
for murdered girls
as it is for frogs and salamanders

Donna Lynch absolutely blew me away with her last collection, Choking Back the Devil, so I knew this collection was going to be incredible as well, but I didn’t know I could love it this much. I tabbed practically every other page in my copy of Girls From the County because it felt like each and every poem had something in it that was so important, that I needed to let it sink its teeth into me and then mark it for easy future access to return to.

Girls From the County feels like a merging of dark poetry and true crime as it follows stories that we know are true not only from the author’s note in the beginning, but also because they’re the kinds of stories we’re all painfully familiar with, especially women, especially women who grew up in small towns where everyone knows who the devil on their street is, but nobody’s willing to exorcise him.

Donna Lynch is my favorite modern poet and I genuinely cannot recommend this collection highly enough. Her work always leaves me both raw and starstruck in the best possible ways.

Thank you to the publisher and Erin Al-Mehairi for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own.

content warnings →

sexual assault, addiction, suicide, mental illness, trauma, murder (from the author’s note)

representation →


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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. This sounds amazing! I really should try poetry one of these days, especially in the horror genre. I think I’m missing out😁

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