Books by Mississippi Writers 1996-2010



Juke Joint


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Photographs by Birney Imes, introduction by Richard Ford Reprint edition; first published in 1990 University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $55.00, ISBN: 0878054375; Paperback, $35.00, ISBN: 087805846X, 12/2002) A collection of photographs capturing the mysterious interiors of juke joints in the Mississippi Delta. “I saw that photograph of the men standing around the pool table, and read that phrase, ‘2-kool 2-be 4-gotten,’ and the inspiration was obvious. Every time I sing that song I credit Birney Imes. Birney’s work is, in photography, what a good blues song is to me—gritty, edgy in all its parallels.” —Lucinda Williams “Sweet lingering drifts through these pictures like heat.” —Richard Ford “Imes immortalizes the juke joints of the Delta.” —Newsweek “Birney Imes photographs what most people overlook.… Linger awhile.” —Douglas Balz, Chicago Tribune These photographs by Birney Imes have the jagged edge of genuine blues music. They were taken in the Mississippi Delta during the 1980s, featured in exhibitions, and collected in Juke Joint, first published in 1990. After being unavailable for five years, this riveting book is in print again. As Lucinda Williams sang, it's “too cool to be forgotten.” Imes focused his camera on nearly empty rooms, yet these bluesy, almost peopleless photographs capture black cafes, roadhouses, and taverns as a fascinating folk art that resounds with energy and pulses with the joys and griefs of the clientele. The names of these juke joints are almost as evocative as Imes’s photographs—the Pink Pony in Darling, Mississippi, the People’s Choice Café in Leland, Monkey’s Place in Merigold, the Evening Star Lounge in Shaw, the Playboy Club in Louise, Juicy’s Place in Marcella, the Social Inn in Gunnison, and A. D.’s Place in Glendora. To the volume Richard Ford, the acclaimed author of The Sportswriter, Rock Springs, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Independence Day, has contributed a long, perceptive essay that probes Imes’s photographs for their aesthetic values and for what they reveal beyond their surface. Birney Imes is the photographer and author of Whispering Pines (University Press of Mississippi). His photographs have been exhibited in solo shows in the United States and in Europe. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. Richard Ford, the author of many books of fiction, has been the recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award.

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