by Greg Alan Brownderville; with paintings by Billy Moore

In Deep Down in the Delta, tales and poems by award-winning writer Greg Alan Brownderville are paired with paintings by “outsider” artist Billy Moore to evoke the Arkansas Delta in unforgettable fashion. One of the most soulful, mysterious regions in America comes to life in words and pictures.

Published by Butler Center Books, Deep Down in the Delta is reminiscent of Jean Toomer’s Cane and the work of noted folklorist Vance Randolph. The book leads the reader into strange country where a buzzard the size of an airplane circles over buried Confederate treasure; an indestructible rabbit haunts a graveyard; a pool table dances across a juke joint; and a hoodoo woman treats a girl who flies around the house like a balloon losing air. The poems are folkloristic, the tales poetic, and the paintings engaging and evocative.

Brownderville, a native of Pumpkin Bend in Arkansas’s Woodruff County, first began collecting folktales and popular legends in his childhood and later did fieldwork in the area, amassing hundreds of stories. Many of the stories, according to Brownderville, are similar to each other and the poems in the book are retold in the voices of the storytellers.

Brownderville noted: “As poems grew out of the imagery of folktales, and simultaneously, my renditions of folktales became more and more like prose poems in local dialects, Deep Down in the Delta took shape.”

A fan of Memphis artist Billy Moore, Brownderville said he approached Moore about doing paintings to match the poems in the book. Moore said, “I met Greg on a farm a few years ago where I was selling my art. We met a few other times where he bought art and a friendship was forged.”

10 x 10, 96 pages
$19.95 paper