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Humboldt County, California, United States
Donna Kuhn is a poet, author, dancer, visual and video artist.

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email me:donnaskuhn@yahoo.com

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Reviews

Andrew Lundwall reviews "purse no birds" 2004

recently i had the pleasure of the reading donna kuhn's when your eyes snow... she had sent it to me via snail mail... i was quite excited to receive it.... after
opening the package i had instantly unblinkingly sat down and read the chap in one sitting... with a pot's worth of coffee near me and an aura of mystery dotted
with exclamation points hovering about the atmosphere that day...

through collaborative projects with donna i have had the pleasure of getting to know her process of composition... and what i have become aware of is this:

donna is a master collagist...

i find ms. kuhn's work to be similar in some respects to the work of pierre reverdy with its juxtaposition of seemingly incongruous objects... materials.. O.
stuffings... we might say that the work presented here was written by an ultra-modern pierre reverdy... i don't think that would be entirely appropriate
though... because donna's style... her words.... are entirely her own... there is a playful child-like innocence sprinkled throughout the chapbook as well as a
primitive funhouse mirror eroticism which make for one hell of a read acrobatic... i am fascinated by the parallels found here... there's also this ghostly haunted
quality which i had found in my travels as i searched the chapbooks language it's meat as i really dove straight into this maelstrom of this twisted beauty of a
work...

i would highly recommend this work to everyone and anyone...

 to order when your eyes snow by donna kuhn please visit foothills publishing for details on how to do just that...

� andrew lundwall





Esther Press
Review by James Wagner


Monday, September 06, 2004

Donna Kuhn
Purse No Birds
Chapultepec Press
2004
30 pages
Softcover, $5



Interested in a kind of cut-up lunacy (the moon shows up often), Donna Kuhn, a visual artist, poet, dancer/choreographer and videographer creates poems with an off-kilter rhythm and a conversational tone. They have moments of direct address mixed with descriptive details of internal landscapes, self-questioning and phantasms of memory and/or longing, seemingly half-heard/half-seen.
Here is "cold rain" from her chapbook, Purse No Birds:


thighs like yam cream, cold rain
someone jumped out a window
i couldn't figure out why i was
writing u i forgot about lip
plumper thunder i was writing
u in the forest don't breathe
the paint dream fine whoosh
i have to go out yesterday
i asked for cold rain a vegan
throat i was writing i couldn't
someone jumped don't breathe
i have to cold rain thighs turn
i can i want to it was yr face
i was writing to rain figure out why
whoosh u in the forest i was
writ ing writing u


I think I am drawn to this writing for a few reasons. I like the insistent registers of talking and almost the need for over-talking, which confronts the basic anatomic problem of having multiple things going on in one's mind and having naturally, censoring, false starts/true starts, occur in the mind continually. Kuhn has made this editing-quality of thinking and speaking the place for her poetry. There is also a fixed element of forgetfulness and doubtfulness on display, which I deeply enjoy, as the things people don't know easily overwhelm the things people think they know. It gives voice, a welcoming voice, to uncertainty,
to bewilderment.

Amid the questions and moons, there is also dream-state diction, which can be humorously unsettling. Here's "egyptian liposuction":


i would rather give up almost anything.
have the fat sucked out of my whore.
u want to get liposuction in eqypt?
that is the where the whore is, thank you.
was yr dads name on her thighs?
was yr dads name almost anything?
my fathers name was green stuff.
its disgusting. i think to throw things.
i could swear its george burns.
what's with the fetuses?
what's going on? u said he's not dead.
dead people in a fancy drawer.
yes, please come here stuffing yr face.
i don't want to have almost anything.
i don't want to have my fat sucked.
why are we talking? i would rather give up.
death and thigh fat and stuff.
was my fathers name bernard's thighs?
when i'm in the tub i like to throw things.


Thankfully, Kuhn doesn't go for quick one-l iners in her work. One could see where she could easily enough. Her poetic worlds expand by not doing so, even when repeating certain words, and the result is a kind of exploratory focusing of attention toward the ongoing poem rather than the singular elements of the poem itself.

There are many imaginative, convulsive lines throughout the book, however. At random, from "can i put the bird back":

gentlemen, i cant carry that
im not any river in yr face


from "birdseye":

i curl birds like landlord skin


from "Poetry Dolls":

hello, i'm confused now
i shouldn't be, of course u can
use me for my body


from "make-up boats":

i'm afraid yr face can bark a song, a business


and from "baby toys":

thanks for the bizarre pot roast wheelbarrow


*

To which all I can say is: No, thank you!

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