The Delta Bohemian: Year-end Review: What We Did & Where We Are Headed

Sunflower River in downtown Clarksdale. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Sunflower River in downtown Clarksdale. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

The Delta Bohemian (DB) turned one-year old recently! The “brainless child” of Billy and Madge Marley Howell–Poor William and Magical Madge–the DB was established as an organic expression of how the two see and experience the Mississippi Delta and Clarksdale, Mississippi.

What is The Delta Bohemian?

We consider it a zany, quirky, off-the-wall, always spontaneous, multi-media, literary Internet experience. We have no agenda other than “celebrating constancy and diversity in the Mississippi Delta” and doing so through our unique, though limited perspective.

We do not presume to be “all things to all people,” and while we may appear “full of ourselves,” our intent is to have some fun, make folks think, and to bring attention to one of the “most” unique places in the world—The Mississippi Delta!

We do not cover every Delta event and we pay our way when we do, so we are beholden to no one other than ourselves. Now, “don’t be thinking” we would turn down some tickets, a free meal, some liberal libations, or some ad revenue! We remain open and at your service!

Many conservatives consider us to be too “liberal” in how we “behave” and present our material, and many liberals find us too conservative when presuming to know our intent on a subject we have addressed. Part of the charm of the Mississippi Delta is in the shoulder-rubbing, iron-sharpens-iron reality of dissimilar characters living together in a microcosm of cultural confluence.

Many of our posts are laced with multi-levels of esoteric irony, while others are straightforward reporting or sober, reflective commentaries on subjects or events impacting the Mississippi Delta or dealing with the global, human condition.

Our worldview–individually and corporately–is marbled with conservative raisings, a Judeo-Christian belief system, and a liberal approach to self-expression! Probably just means, “WE CRAZY!”

Who do Madge and Billy think they are?

Madge and Billy found each other late in life. We are both grateful to God for allowing us to “hook up,” and for being matched well enough to enjoy working together while living together—not always a possibility for many couples.

We grew up in the area having only heard one another’s names, moved away for a couple of decades and then came “home” by choice. We essentially met at RUST Restaurant in 2008, where Poor William was bartending and then we married while both working at Madidi Restaurant; Madge managed it and Poor William just ogled her while pouring her drinks.

The “pirate” wedding held at the Clark House in December 2009 somewhat “sealed the deal” as regards “crazy,” and was the likely catalyst for germinating the possibility of The Delta Bohemian! However, it was the picture of Poor William nude in the snow (nothing showing but fat, white meat and some sheer chutzpah) and the accompanying video that put the DB on the map. Not a large map mind you, but a map nonetheless. (Check out Mr. January – A Snow Odyssey post HERE.)

Why Do Poor William and Pontificus Minimus always refer to themselves in the third person singular?

Well, Poor William started that while working at the Clarksdale Press Register as a reporter writing an editorial column under the pen name, Poor William. He did so to mimic politicians and preachers who too often refer to themselves in the third person, as if doing so increases their stature. But, maybe the use of the third person has stuck just a little too closely to Poor William and Pontificus Minimus? Hmm?

What’s Delta Bohemian Duality?

Inherent in the DB is the manifestation of the duality often seen in the human race, seen in our geographical and cultural area, and seen in those who profess faith in a religion or creed. The Delta is laden with duality and the DB wants to explore those dualities: white/black, religious/non-religious, local/visitor, conservative/liberal, private/public, formal/informal, wholesome/gritty, etc.

Locals and tourists can coexist?

We want our local readers to appreciate the strengths, fascination with the Delta, and socio-economic impact visitors from all over the world bring to this area on a daily basis.

Also, we want our visitors to be familiar with and appreciative of the status quo, not-out-of-the-box, local cultures that have contributed demonstrably to the longstanding stability seen in our area. We all have much to offer and much to receive from each other, and the DB wants to be another voice in the Delta.

Who is The Delta Bohemian?

Poor William writes a couple of articles every week: Poor William’s Whims, Pontificus Minimus Opines, and Delta Shorts—short stories mimicking life in the Mississippi Delta.

Magical Madge, who writes and collates the weekly “Whatcha Gonna Do” post, is the driving force behind our online rag: taking and then creating cut lines for photos, doing all the technical editing on videos, audio, and layout, and making posts and the website aesthetically pleasing. Poor William just does the “heavy” thinking!

Corinne Vance is a contributor to the DB and writes our Young & Free articles. She writes from the mindset of a young co-ed at Ole Miss University.

John McKee (Mr. Lil John) periodically contributes wry, informative, intelligent articles about farming and life on his Fat Clyde page.

John “Driftwood Johnnie” Ruskey, owner of Quapaw Canoe Company in Clarksdale and Helena, AR, contributes articles and information relative to the “happenings” on river systems in our area and all along the lower Mississippi River. John is often featured on our Guest Bohemian page.

Guest Bohemians occasionally submit articles on subjects that dovetail well with the DB’s purpose or theme for the week.

Where are we heading?

Good question Poor William! During this holiday season, Madge and Poor William will be thinking, rethinking, formulating, and planning for next year’s expression of The Delta Bohemian.

We want to thank our main sponsor, Charles Evans, owner of the Clark House Residential Inn located in downtown Clarksdale who urged and helped us develop this “Delta Bohemian” concept.

We also want to thank Cal Carter with Gulf Shores Condos whose early technical help in creating our website helped make The Delta Bohemian not just a dream but a reality.

And, finally, we want to thank our subscribers and readers: Without you enjoying at least some of what we do we would not and could not continue to do what little bit we do do (should that be one word?).

Our plans will involve ensuring the DB becomes financially viable and that it continues to be dynamic, spontaneous, but non-combustible. Madge doesn’t have enough “magical” to override William’s “poorness!” So, we gotta rake in some more Benjamins this year!

We are designing new t-shirts, posters, hats and other DB products, in addition to pursuing a collaboratively produced periodical print edition. Also, the DB plans to deepen and broaden its roots and ties to the area through several planned marketing and publishing ventures to be launched during 2012.

We want to continue to have a good time, promote Clarksdale and the Mississippi Delta, and we would like to be another metaphorical thread in the organic bridge slowly being constructed in the Delta. A bridge with the potential to more completely link similar and dissimilar folks with a common interest: Survival, Progress, and Success for The Mississippi Delta, its residents and those who value it!

God Bless The Mississippi Delta, God Bless The Delta Bohemian and God Bless you, the reader!

P.S. We welcome your suggestions and ideas! Merry Christmas!

Share and Enjoy !

Friends of the Delta Bohemian®


  1. Excited about that “collaboratively produced print product” !!

  2. Callin’ in from Canada…..first time caller, longtime reader……simply wanted to concur with above sentiment……YOU BE CRAZY!
    PLEASE don’t STOP! Keep on chooglin’, and have a rockin’ little Christmas.

    Oh, right, suggestions…..hmmm… about featuring more scantily-clad women combined with old school electric blues music….works for me!

  3. Congrats on 1+ years, y’all. Keep up the great work on covering the Clarksdale scene.

  4. Sheila Baker says:

    We be back to Clarksdale this May. Love you, mean it!

  5. Jon Levingston says:

    I don’t know about the Delta Bohemian being the, “metaphorical thread in the organic (orgasmic?) bridge slowly being constructed in the Delta.” What I do know is this: it is funny, messy, often witty, sometimes urbane, always irreverent and mostly iconoclastic. I enjoy it tremendously and I am so very glad it exists, especially during the dark, cold and dank days of winter. What could make one laugh more at the cruel cold than a picture Poor William, himself, rolling naked as a pink, porcine sybarite thrashing wildly in search of his next conquest? Here’s to raising a glass of whatever hooch one has to the Delta Bohemian circus and all its performers: may there be more snow bunny adventures in your future and more wonderful, entertaining and insightful commentary for us all!

  6. My friend, I have exactly nothing to add to your most awesome comments! Your words always amaze! Happy Hanukkah! “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One!” Poor William

  7. frank mckenna says:

    Folks ,
    Congrats on the DB’s first year . You folks do a great job and we look forward to year two .
    Thanks for all yor efforts .

  8. Gordon YAMAMOTO says:

    Hey Brother Buzz….(and Sister Buzzette!),

    It’s not often start-ups like this can appeal to such a diverse audience. Having carefully read your above mission statement and hopes for the future, I really think you will enjoy immense success, because you have been so successful in entertaining and educating all of us thus far! I would like to see more Delta characters and odd-balls discovered, because your publication provides that which is beyond our everyday news sources…and who better than yourself to ferret out the oddities?

    YAMO, Y’ALL !!

  9. always entertaining…and informative…flood coverage from back in the spring “news worthy” to me…love to take it all in.
    only have one suggestion…on the pictures i can not read the very small print of who and what is going on…don’t know if it’s me or the slide show viewer…other than that i am looking forward to watching you crazy folks have a good time and report about it…
    PW i just knew you were about to have a heart attack back in the spring swimming the chasm left by the flood and madge hollering “billy, don’t have a heart attack” , better entertainment could not be found on premium cable/satellite channels…

    merry xmas and happy new year to you guys and all your kin too dr. bo.


    • Jimbo, I don’t like the size of the type either. We will look into a better way to display photographs for 2012. The latter galleries (in November) had larger type. Did they look any better on your end? Check out this one in particular and let me know.

      You just don’t know how much we have enjoyed your comments! Please keep them coming.

      I’ll tell Dr. Bo hello from Jimbo. He will know you….right?!! 😎

  10. Congrats to to Y’all. PW,MM,FC&CV. I have honestly enjoyed the first year. So much fun mixed with just enough “DRAMA” that leaves me to wonder if WPH will survive long enough for MM to “Push Out” the next week’s issue. A Job Well Done!!!Thank Y’all. See ya’ on the 21st in (“Rather Be A Frog On A Log In the Bottom Of The Sunflower River, Than A Citizen Of “) ? .
    Oh! Beautiful pic of Sunflower. Billy, did I mention to you that C-Dale is on the list to receive a new boat ramp on The Sunflower in 2012? Should make Y’all’s canoeing a little less difficult.


  11. Chilly,

    The posts above say it well. The duality of William has captured the attention and entertained all sorts of folks; only you and Marge could have pulled that off. Your umbrella is wide, senor.

    To the DB reader, don’t try to pigeon-hole William and Madge; it can’t be done. They are citizens of the world as much as they are of Clarksdale, Mississippi. PW often careens off the walls of both sides of an issue, usually arriving at the conclusion that the truth lies somewhere in the middle – or does it?. The duality overwhelms me, PW. And don’t take him too seriously either; I think he is just along for the ride.

    But Chilly, man that snow thing was WRONG.

  12. Lil John, Marge? Uc-Oh! Dat almost as bad as my dual to to’s above.

  13. Driftwood Johnnie says:

    From “Madge’s Pool” on the Sunflower to Jay Platt’s shackled & chained Montezuma Crossing; from the Great Flood of 2011 to the British Invasion Part II (Dave & Andy Cornthwaite SUP the length of the Mississippi) the rivers the lifeblood of mother earth have never been so well covered, at least not in this strange corner of the hemisphere. You DBs are a blessing to behold — and may many, many blessings be washed back upon your shores, in time of flood, in time of drought. Look forward to sharing the upcoming Happy “Canoe” Year with ya!

    • Driftwood Johnnie, You give us so much incredible fodder for the DB! We can’t thank you enough for the tips, the trips, and the fellowship! Thank you my brother! Merry Christmas to you, Sarah, and Emma Lou! May the river and the canoe year be with you! pw 🙂

  14. Wait, Madge really did marry you? For real? That pirate stuff wasn’t just a joke? That poor chic. OMG.
    Great website PWillie. Keep it up.

    • You my new “dawg” ld! And to think Swamp Rat has two friends of such high and noble estate? Well, not really noble, but high maybe? Naw, low and ignoble works for us! Hope you don’t mind that I speak for you? Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to my mixed-bred Yankee brother! Get dat ass to the Delta soon! Shooting. Shucking, Shining, and Opining is to be had behind the levee Dude! Cheers! PWillie

Speak Your Mind