Broken Wing

imageThe story of one man’s love for birds and efforts to save a Rusty Blackbird who can’t fly south for the winter.

Illustrations by Donald Saaf

In Broken Wing, David Budbill has composed a monumental love letter to the natural world, an astute and minutely observed portrait of the avian inhabitants of a mysterious hillside orchard. The Man Who Lives Alone in the Mountains, a reclusive keeper of the earth whose soul is devoted to one injured rusty blackbird, embodies a narrative voice compelled to witness, in the rhythm and brutality of the seasons, the intimate patterns of the wild creatures surrounding his home. Budbill’s lyrical storytelling effortlessly transports the reader into his realm with a rare and poetic beauty.


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.

It 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 America literature.

Told with simple, dignified prose BROKEN WING takes on the timeless, mythic aura of a folktale.



The Chicago Sun Times has described Budbill’s writing as “Wrenchingly real, fiercely emotional and unexpectedly funny.”

The Los Angeles Daily News says that David Budbill writes “with rare honesty, affection and grace–and with language so precise and descriptive you will know immediately you’re soul-deep in something extraordinary.”

About the AuthorDavidBudbillGWPauthor

David Budbill’s newest book of poems is, Tumbling Toward the End, the 4th in a series of books from Copper Canyon Press. It will be out sometime in 2017. Park Songs: a Poem/Play, his most recent book was published in September of 2012. Happy Life, his most recent Copper Canyon Press book, was on the bestseller list for 29 weeks in 2011 and 2012.

His latest play, Different Planet, got its first staged reading in the summer of 2014. A Song for My Father, premiered at Lost Nation Theatre in Montpelier, Vermont, in the spring of 2010 and was produced again in 2010 at Old Castle Theatre Company in Bennington, Vermont, and was produced a third time in Salinas, California, by The Western Stage in the fall 2013.

His other three Copper Canyon Press books in addition to Tumbling Toward the End, are Happy Life, While We’ve Still Got Feet. and Moment to Moment: Poems of a Mountain Recluse. In 1999, Chelsea Green Publishing Company republished a revised, expanded version of Judevine, his collected narrative poems.

Judevine, the play, has now had 67 productions in 28 states since the early 1980s. Among Budbill’s other plays are Little Acts of Kindness, Thingy World!, and Two For Christmas and Different Planet. Garrison Keillor reads frequently from David’s poems on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac.

David’s prizes and honors include: on October 6, 2011, Pennsylvania State University/Altoona presented David Budbill with the 2011 Kjell Meling Memorial Award for Distinction in the Arts & Humanities, in January 2009 an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from New England College, in Henniker, New Hampshire, The Vermont Arts Council’s Walter Cerf Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts in 2002, a National Endowment for the Arts Play Writing Fellowship in 1991, a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry in 1981 and The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award for Fiction in 1978.

David lives on a remote mountainside in the southwest corner of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The homepage for David’s website, where more about all these books and plays can be found, is at htttp://


Broken Wing, a novel. Paperback original, due out October 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0996267632

Distributed by Midpoint Trade Books. Available wherever books are sold.