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“Budbill’s frank self-awareness keeps him from sounding smug . .. .; he’s quick to include himself in the benighted . . . a list of references in the book shows how strongly he’s been influenced by the classical Chinese poets-but they find fresh expression here, thanks to Budbill’s good humor and gusto.”

–Joel Brouwer
The New York Times Book Review, July 17, 2005

If you think you’ll never like poetry, try Budbill, and if you think you like most poetry, try him, too. Either way, bet you’ll like him.

–Ray Olson
Booklist, July 2005

His poems deal directly with subjects many other poets cloak in poetical devices, and this directness makes Budbill’s poems accessible and moving.

–ForeWord Magazine

It’s that honest voice, spare and clean as a brushstroke painting, that bridges the centuries and makes his poetry so compelling. It takes a lifetime to learn to write like that. Fortunately for us, Budbill has devoted his lifetime to exploring the brevity, poignancy, and beauty of his life, and this life.

–Tom Slayton
Vermont Public Radio, June 2005

While We’ve Still Got Feet depicts a Spartan life of incredible interior richness. . . here are lyrics sharpened by solitude’s grindstone. . . . While We’ve Still Got Feet is a stirring record of Budbill’s commitment to living mindfully, simply and in concert with the world around him.

–John Freeman,
Seven Days, 25 May 2005

Budbill both informs and moves. He is, in short, a delight and a comfort.

–Wendell Berry

While We’ve Still Got Feet (Copper Canyon Press, 2005) is a joyous collection of poems informed by the work of Chinese and Japanese recluse-poets and by Budbill’s own distilled observations. The poems are clear and often arresting, filled with wry humor and a refreshing matter-of-factness.

 Jason Krane, 28 February 2010, jasonkrane.org



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David Budbill is beloved by legions for straightforward poems dispatched from his hermitage on Judevine Mountain. Inspired by classical Chinese hermit poets, he follows tradition but cannot escape the complications and struggles of a modern solitary existence. Loneliness, aging, and political outrage are addressed in these poems that value honesty and simplicity and deplore pretension.

The poems in While We’ve Still Got Feet (Copper Canyon Press, 2005) grow out of the peace of a mountain wilderness home, the pleasures of daily life, and an acute awareness of the melancholy passing of time as the days turn through the seasons. These poems are written in a clear way with blunt honesty, humor, and insight into the human condition. Beneath the surface of these simple poems is a wealth of meaning and passion. As before, Judevine Mountain–and David Budbill–deal with opposites: solitude and loneliness, contentment and restlessness, the allures of the city versus the country and the ever present tension between the desire for engagement with the world on the one hand and withdrawal from it on the other. There is no resolution for the conundrums and dichotomies of this life, but rather the comfort that comes from a clear articulation between life’s opposites.

While We’ve Still Got Feet is a continuation of the Judevine Mountain poems begun with Moment to Moment: Poems of a Mountain Recluse (Copper Canyon Press, 1999) which was chosen by Booklistas one of the ten best books of poetry for 1999.


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we are
bones and ash,
the roots of weeds
poking through
our skulls.

simple clothes,
empty mind,
full stomach,
alive, aware,
right here,
right now.

Drunk on music,
who needs wine?

Come on,
let’s go dancing
while we’ve
still got feet.

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