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New Delta Rising

New Delta Rising

By Magdalena Solé
Introduction by Rick Bragg
Text by Barry H. Smith & Tom Lassiter
Hardcover : 9781617031502, 160 pages, 92 color photographs, December 2011

A compelling look at the people and places of today’s Mississippi Delta


The Mississippi Delta has been called “the most southern place on earth. ” This fertile expanse of flat land sprawls along the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tennessee, southward to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Culturally rich as well, the Delta is the land where the blues began.

New Delta Rising is an exploration of Mississippi Delta life and a celebration of the indefatigable Delta people who live there.

Award-winning photographer Magdalena Solé spent a year interviewing and photographing hundreds of residents in the Mississippi Delta. The deep connection she felt comes through in the compelling images in this book. Solé captures their personal dignity, resilience, and resourcefulness, along with the closeness of family and community she found among them.

The accompanying text gives voice to the people of the Delta, illuminating their strength and character and spirit—a spirit bound up in a deeply rooted sense of place and shown in their compassion for one another. In their stories the people of the Delta have much to offer to the rest of the United States.

Rick Bragg, the acclaimed author of All Over but the Shoutin', contributes to the volume a lyrical essay evoking the distinctive aura of the Mississippi Delta. He writes, “Myth and magic and legend swirl into the real world, and it can be hard to tell where one stops and the other begins. ”


Ms. Solé's lushly colorful and formally striking images are restless. The people . . . are lively and in motion, contrasting sharply with their crumbling surroundings. The colors Ms. Solé finds everywhere . . . are visual metaphors for the culture and history that remain vivid even beneath the cracking surface. . . . [T]hey electrify.

- The Wall Street Journal

New Delta Rising is a stunning portrait of the Mississippi Delta that captures both the voices and faces of a people, their homes, and their landscape with hauntingly beautiful images. Magdalena Solé is an exceptionally gifted photographer whose rich, color images bring clarity and new understanding to this complex region.

- William R. Ferris, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This book is a tribute to the people of the Mississippi Delta. . . . Getting to know [them] has made me optimistic about facing the challenges of the future. It is my hope that readers of this volume will be heartened and inspired by the lives represented here.

- Barry H. Smith, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Dreyfus Health Foundation