Po’ Monkey’s: Portrait of a Juke Joint by Will Jacks | University Press of Mississippi

posted in: Mississippi

 note: South x Southeast Gallery will host a book signing on September 21 during the SlowExposures Photography Festival. Please join us at the gallery from 10-5, maybe buy a book, and, if so, Will will sign it. Hope to see you there!

 

A PHOTOGRAPHIC TOUR OF A QUINTESSENTIAL STAPLE OF THE MISSISSIPPI BLUES

Outside of Merigold, Mississippi, off an unmarked dirt road, stands Po’ Monkey’s, perhaps the most famous house in Mississippi and the last rural juke joint in the state, now closed to the public. Before the death of the lounge’s owner, Willie Seaberry, in 2016, it was a mandatory stop on the constant blues pilgrimage that flows through the Delta.

Seaberry ran Po’ Monkey’s Lounge for more than fifty years, opening his juke joint in the 1960s. A hand-built tenant home located on the plantation where Seaberry worked, Po’ Monkey’s was a place to listen to music and drink beer—a place to relax where everyone was welcomed by Seaberry’s infectious charm.

 

In Po’ Monkey’s: Portrait of a Juke Joint, photographer Will Jacks captures the juke joint he spent a decade patronizing. The more than seventy black-and-white photographs featured in this volume reflect ten years of weekly visits to the lounge as a regular—a journal of Jacks’s encounters with other customers, tourists, and Willie Seaberry himself.

 

An essay by award-winning writer Boyce Upholt on the cultural significance of the lounge accompanies the images. This volume explores the difficulties of preservation, historical context, community relations, and cultural tourism. Now that Seaberry is gone, the uncertainty of the future of his juke joint highlights the need for a historical record.


Will Jacks is a photographer, curator, storyteller, and educator of culture and relationships in the Mississippi Delta, the Lower Mississippi River region, and the American South. He teaches photography and documentary courses in the Mississippi Delta.

all images ©Will Jacks

www.whjacks.com

 

Po’ Monkey’s

Portrait of a Juke Joint

Will Jacks

Essay by Boyce Upholt

University Press of Mississippi

ISBN 978-1-4968-2533-9

73 b&w photographs

Cloth $35.00T

Follow Nancy McCrary:
Nancy is the Publisher and Founding Editor of South x Southeast photomagazine. She is also the Director of South x Southeast photoworkshops, and Shopkeeper for SxSEshop.com, the online store for original photographic works of art. She resides on her farm in Georgia with 4 hounds and a one-eyed cat where she shoots only pictures.
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