About Julia Budenz and her poetry —

Julia Budenz on Epic Day, 1989
Born in New York City in 1934, Julia Budenz was the oldest of four children (all daughters) of Louis and Margaret Budenz. When Julia was 11, her father abruptly renounced his clandestine work for the Communist Party and joined the Roman Catholic Church with his family. Julia attended the Ursuline School in New Rochelle, New York, where she earned the Latin Cup and Caesar medal. She then attended the College of New Rochelle, graduating summa cum laude in 1956.

In the fall of that year she entered the Ursuline novitiate to become a nun. She attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C., earning an M.A. in 1962. Then she taught Latin, Greek, and classics in translation (especially Homer) at the College of New Rochelle. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen presided over her profession of final vows as an Ursuline nun in 1964.

Soon, however, Julia decided the religious life was not for her. After a semester at New York University, in 1966 she began six years of graduate studies (Greek, Latin, and English) at Harvard University.

Julia began writing what would be her life work, a poem in five books titled The Gardens of Flora Baum, in 1969. From that time on she never strayed for long from Cambridge, Massachusetts, treasuring her ready access to Harvard’s renowned Widener and Houghton libraries.

  • Formalist poet Mary Freeman spoke at the memorial service for Julia held March 7, 2011, in the Woodbury Poetry Room of Lamont Library, Harvard University. Watch a video of Mary's remarks here.
  • Scottish poet Tessa Ransford has reviewed our Carpathia Press edition of Julia’s poem for Arion, Boston University’s journal of humanities and classics. Read it online here.
  • Acclaimed poet Frederick Turner (University of Texas, Dallas) has reviewed the poem for World Literature Today, here.
  • For examples of Julia’s writing, go to the Poetry Porch.
  • Photographs of Julia and her family, with an excerpt from Book Three, Rome, have been made available online by the Vergilian Society. A memorial to Julia by Barbara F. McManus appeared in the society's journal, Vergilius, vol. 57 (2011), page 191.
  • The Boston Globe carried a substantial obituary when Julia died in December 2010. At that time, Frederick Turner wrote this tribute.

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