David Budbill died peacefully at his home in the early morning hours of September 25 th with his wife of 50 years, Lois Eby, and his daughter, Nadine Wolf Budbill, by his side. A passionate lover of his family and friends, the woods, and all things human, he did not want  to leave this life but over the past three years his Progressive Supranuclear Palsy—a rare  form of Parkinson’s Disease—brought him to this moment.


David was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1940 to a streetcar driver and a minister’s daughter. His colorful life included being a track star in high school, attending Union Theological Seminary in New York City, teaching at Lincoln University (a historically Black college in Pennsylvania), moving to Northern Vermont in the late 1960s and building his own house, laboring on a Christmas tree farm, playing myriad musical instruments, working for racial and economic justice, tending a large vegetable garden, cutting his own wood, and writing a staggering amount of creative material.

He is the author of ten books of poems, seven plays, two novels, a collection of short stories, two picture books for children, and the libretto for an opera. During his prolific career David performed his work in many venues—from schools and prisons in Vermont to avant-garde performance spaces in New York City—often with William Parker and other musical collaborators. Several new books of David’s will be published posthumously, including his newest book of poems titled Tumbling Toward the End (Copper Canyon Press) and a novel titled Broken Wing (Green Writers Press). More can be learned at www.davidbudbill.com.

David is predeceased by his son Gene. He is survived by his wife, Lois, his daughter, Nadine, her partner, Mia Roethlein, and his granddaughter Riley Wolf Budbill-Roethlein who gave him much joy in the last two years of his life and the first two of hers. He is also survived by his cousins Martha Cross and Dick Miller, his brother in law and sister in law, Frank and Gayle Eby, many good friends and readers of his work, his work itself, and the woods where he loved to be.

His ashes will be returned to his favorite white pine stand in the woods at the home in Wolcott, VT, where he lived and wrote for 45 years. The family wishes to thank the wonderful team at Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice who guided us and our dedicated caregivers through this challenging time with great skill and compassion.

An event to celebrate David’s life and work is planned for 2017. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to Copper Canyon Press, his longtime publisher, or an arts or peace and justice organization of your choice.

New York Times Obituary

Boston Globe Obituary







Here’s the text for the back cover:

David Budbill continues a wry, joyful examination of life on his semi-
metaphorical Judevine Mountain, writing about the New England
seasons, fame and fortune, self-reliance, aging, and the engaged
creative life. Profoundly simple and immediate, Budbill’s poems radiate
a dialogue with nature through absolute clarity of expression.

Yet and still every day the sun rises,

white clouds roll across the sky,

vegetables get planted and grow,

and late in the afternoon

someone sits quietly with a cup of tea.

“His poetry is as accessible as a parking lot and as plain as a pair of


“A recognizable immediacy and honesty, accompanied by an endearing
wit… Budbill’s economical, brush-stroke approach… evinces a hard-won
clarity, a pure, human tone.”

—Library Journal

“One of the most readable American poets ever.”



HAPPY LIFE spent 27 weeks on the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry.org

Best Seller List between July 2011 and January 2012



David Budbill is a no-nonsense free-range sage.

Dana Jennings
The New York Times, 20 December 2011

. . . warm and accessible poems that grow out of the poet’s experience
and his meditations on who he is and how he found himself over the
last forty years . . . clear language, his wry, self – effacing humor and
his humble recognition of all the poets to whom he owes his poetry. . .

Michael Macklin
The Cafe Review, Fall 2011

The art of ‘Budbill’s poems is created by the absence of any artistic
pretense. . . . HAPPY LIFE is a simple pleasure, offered by a master
Christina Cook
Northern Woodlands, Winter 2011

Budbill’s hermit writes in straightforward but poetic language about
the paradoxes of being alive. . . . As always, he is funny, pointed
even, in a sardonic way. . . . The defining terms of Budbill’s vision
[is] the tension between worldly desire and quiet wisdom, the intent
to be here now. It requires both self-awareness and a touch of self-
deprecation … or, at least, the ability to see yourself plain.

David Ulin
Los Angeles Times, 1 August 2011

The poems are as clear, as crisp and direct as ever . . . Often they are
laced with a sharp, self-deprecating wit.

Tom Slayton
Vermont Public Radio, 6 October 2011

In impeccably clear and accessible language: [Budbill] ruminates on
the satisfaction he gets from flowing with life’s natural rhythms and
living within his means—not only economically, but also artistically
and spiritually . . . his poems . . . frequently call into question the
demands of contemporary life. Nothing in them seems extraneous . . .
—there aren’t any metaphors—and you get the sense that he knows
what really matters . . .

Shannon Wagner,

Ploughshares Literary Magazine, 24 January 2012

Wiseass, grumpy and soul-nourishing poems.

Shelf Awareness, the top of the top ten, 7 December 2011

Selected Interviews
September 19: Interview with Shelagh Shapiro on her show WRITE
THE BOOK (53:00): http://writethebook.podbean.com/

October 28: Interview with Peter Biello on Vermont Public Radio,
Morning Edition, (8:15), listen at: http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/


Selected Blog Posts

August 6: Which Silk Shirt: Exploring Poetry and Other Fine Writing

August 9: foundcommunity blog: http://foundcommunity.com/2011/

November 21: Santa Cruz (CA) Good Times: http://