David Budbill

Introduction by Hayden Carruth

Drawings by Lois Eby 

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first published by
Crow’s Mark Press in 1977
and subsequently by
Countryman Press in 1983
ISBN: 0-88150-012-7


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Seven Printings between 1977 and 1990

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The first in the series of poems that would become JUDEVINE. Here Budbill introduces to the world such memorable back-woods characters as Antoine, Arnie, Doug, Bobbie, Granny, Anson and Jimmy.

This book was the occasion for great controversy and publicity when it was first published.

All the poems in THE CHAIN SAW DANCE are included in JUDEVINE.


THE CHAIN SAW DANCE is a strong book and one that must be respected….This book is also a victory over what most poets would find wholly intractable subject matter. I don’t know when I’ve come across a book so straight-forwardly “un-poetic.”

Thomas McGrath


[David Budbill’s] work points in a direction so interesting and valuable that he should be taken seriously, now.



THE CHAIN SAW DANCE is readable in both senses, for what it says and for the way it says it. More readable than 98% of the new work I see. It both informs and moves. David Budbill is…a delight and a comfort, at least to me.

Wendell Berry


I love THE CHAIN SAW DANCE….Looking at reality closely, [David Budbill] sees parts move in a unison–sometimes graceless, sometimes ugly, always resolved in a human wholeness.

Donald Hall


THE CHAIN SAW DANCE is one of the signs of new life in American poetry, hard-spoken yet compassionate, a summary of the survival strength inherent in the oppressed and hurt. This is a new voice in New England and one to be listened to.

Millen Brand


THE CHAIN SAW DANCE is a loving book, a funny book and sometimes an angry book….I believe this is an important book, both for what it contains and for what it promises.

John Haines