Letter to the editor: Vermont snubbed David Budbill

Vermont snubbed David Budbill

David Budbill died last month. In my mind he was the best of the poets living in Vermont in my era. Judevine — a poetry-prose portrait of the native Vermonters he worked with near Wolcott, is masterful. As a play the work has been staged in over 20 states.

Garrison Keillor regularly read David's poetry on National Public Radio. He was featured on Vermont Public Radio.

David wrote 10 books. He has appeared at many gatherings in Vermont where he recited his poetry.

He died at the age of 76. During the 51 years he lived in Vermont and gained national distinction those who selected our poet laureate passed him over eight times.

Why? Judevine and his early Vermont poems reflected the face of Vermont poor people. Well, not really poor — just self sufficient. His later poetry was often about the beauty in which we live. He distilled that essence and made sure we understood it. I certainly gained much from his poems.

David was a hippy farmer when he first arrived when the only politically correct flitted about Montpelier. I don't think the poetry bigwigs who decided who becomes Poet Laureate in this state trusted his direction. Well, he did hint in a few poems there is such a thing as sex in our lives. Bad Boy.

David was hurt that his adopted state, the scene and essence of his poetry, never elected him Poet Laureate. I call this nominating cabal a wing of The Vermont Literary Mafia. They only talk to their own crowd. We, the people of Vermont, apologize to David and his family for this snub.

— Peter Miller Waterbury


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