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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

David Budbill's Posthumous Book Explores Race, Nature And Solitude

Vermont poet, playwright and author David Budbill died in September. But for the last decade of his life, Budbill was at work on a novel, which he completed before his death.

The book, titled Broken Wing, was published in December by Green Writer’s Press in Vermont.

It’s a story about a man who lives alone in the mountains of northern Vermont and his relationship with the world around him, particularly a Rusty Blackbird with a broken wing.

According to the publisher, the book is also “the story of one individual black man told from outside the usual stereotypes about African-American males, which is a perspective seldom seen in American literature.”

Budbill’s daughter, Nadine, says the book combines her father’s ideas about solitude, race, music and spirituality.

“It’s so much a deep expression of him in terms of his interests and his values and what was important to him. It’s a beautiful gift that he’s left for us even though he had no intention of not being here when it was published,” she says.

“I’ve felt, and a lot of other people who were close to my dad have felt like, when they’re reading the book, he is just right there with them," she adds.

Budbill, who lived in Wolcott for many years, was perhaps best known for his fictional Vermont town, Judevine, and its characters.  

The Judevine stories were adapted for a play, which was performed around the country, and an opera entitled A Fleeting Animal, with music by Brookfield composer Erik Neilson.

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.
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