David Budbill died in September 2016, before the publication of his eighth book of poetry. Tumbling toward the End is a candid assessment of imminent mortality haunted by the timbre of great physical pain. And yet Budbill’s poems remain suffused with light and love.

While mournful about the body’s debilitation and inevidable departure from Judevine Mountain, the home Budbill made in rural Vermont for over forty years, these poems sing of the delights of a modest, honorable, mindful life.



Here’s what people are saying:

5.0 out of 5 stars

is written with a simple beauty and love of nature
By ralph andersonon September 26, 2017

This final book of poetry by David Budbill, published postmortem, is written with a simple beauty and love of nature, by a man who is aware of his physical deterioration and senses his upcoming death, with which he struggles. He has lived for more then 45 years in this southwest corner of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont in a remote, wild and lonely place he called Bear Swamp. His poetry projects the simplicity and directness of his love for this place where he lived.

While I recommend this book of beautiful and delightful poetry for all, it may be especially meaningful for those who are ageing and contemplating death. This is a good read!

5.0 out of 5 stars
Last Words from David Budbill–Don’t miss them.
By ReviewerMidwest LSon April 6, 2017

This last book by poet, playwright, fiction writer, musician, David Budbill has all the deserved resonance of “last words.” And one senses here David’s awareness of aging and death. Stricken with a rare disease that took him last year, one senses his struggling for acceptance, but like us all it’s a struggle. It is also his most Zen book of poems, and he is one of our finest American Zen poets as his many books from Copper Canyon attest. In “Taoist Poem” he gives us three simple lines: “Just this/ then that/ then the other.” His work is marked by a directness and simplicity that loves his place in the Vermont mountains. In so many poems there is a beauty of nature speaking to us, and the poet is there to listen and transcribe. Tumbling Toward the End is a last blessing upon us. Don’t miss it.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Wish It Weren’t So
By M. Itoon May 8, 2017

Wonderful, as were all of David Budbill’s previous works. The only downside is that there won’t be any sequels, at least not in this life.


What Issa Heard, Poem by David Budbill, Music by Erik Nielsen as sung at the Memorial Celebration of David’s Life and Work on June 25, 2017



A Memorial Celebration of the Life and Work of David Budbill, who passed away at his home in Montpelier on September 25, 2016, will be held at the Barre Opera House, Barre, Vermont, on Sunday, June 25, 2017, from 3 to 5 p.m.

David, who made his home in Vermont for 47 years, is the author of eight books of poems, seven plays, two novels, a collection of short stories, two picture books for children, and the libretto for an opera.  He also played musical instruments including the saxophone and the shakuhachi, and collaborated with musicians and composers.  The event at the Opera House will include the performance of poems set to music by Erik Nielsen; a scene from the opera A FLEETING ANIMAL for which David wrote the libretto and Erik Nielsen wrote the music; a performance by Rusty DeWees, the original Antoine in David’s play, JUDEVINE, and now known as “The Logger”; and a scene from JUDEVINE performed by 5 cast members from Lost Nation Theater’s recent production in Montpelier.  There will also be presentations of poems, photos and stories by family members and friends.

William Parker, New York based avant garde bassist and composer and longtime collaborator with David, will begin and end the program with the ringing of bowls, and will also perform a piece created for the Memorial titled “Requiem for Joy” for which instrumentalist Cooper-Moore and saxophonist Rob Brown are coming also from New York to join him.  David and William performed together in many venues:   around Vermont, in New York City, and, just as David was falling ill, in Milan, Italy.

This event is free and all are welcome to attend.  No advance reservations are necessary. For more information please visit: http://barreoperahouse.org/a-memorial-celebration-of-david-budbill.html.




It is with both deep joy and deep sadness that I announce to you the publication of my father’s newest book, a novel titled BROKEN WING. This book is truly beautiful, and I only wish my father was here to hold it in his hands.


Set in the remote mountains to the north, BROKEN WING is an allegorical tale about a rusty blackbird with a broken wing who can’t fly and therefore is trapped in the inhospitable north country for the winter, and a man, known only as The Man Who Lives Alone in the Mountains, who lives a solitary life of nurturing attentiveness, simple kindness, and passionate emotional intensity. BROKEN WING is the story of how these two different lives come together.


A story of loneliness, survival, tenacity, and will, BROKEN WING is also about music and race and what it is like to be a minority in a strange place. A story of the natural world and the wonder of birds’ lives, and of one man’s deep connection to them, BROKEN WING becomes a song of praise for the cycle of the seasons and a meditation on the reality of dreams and the dreamlike quality of reality. Told with simple, dignified prose BROKEN WING takes on the timeless, mythic aura of a folktale.


The best way to get a copy of BROKEN WING is through your local bookseller (who can order it if they do not have it in stock). If that is not possible, below are links for purchasing it online.


Indiebound National (Buy Local!):






Barnes & Noble: