Greg Alan Brownderville (1976–)
Arkansas poet Greg Alan Brownderville has published three award-winning books of poetry and folklore and created a “go-show” called Fire Bones. He is a full professor in the Department of English at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, and is editor-in-chief of the Southwest Review.
Greg Brownderville was born on October 10, 1976, in a Jonesboro (Craighead County) hospital. He grew up with his brother and sister in the small close-knit Woodruff County community of Pumpkin Bend, where generations of his family lived and farmed. His father, Alton Brownderville, was a farmer and later owned a funeral home. His mother, Janie Woodall Brownderville, worked at the county library and later was secretary to the elementary principal at McCrory (Woodruff County). During his high school years, he worked as a reporter and sportswriter for the county newspaper. He graduated from Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) and then received his MFA from the University of Mississippi in 2008.
Brownderville’s first book was Deep Down in the Delta: Folktales and Poems (2005). A revised and illustrated edition was published in 2012. The material for this book was gathered around the county where he grew up and includes folktales, descriptions of local traditions, and oral histories presented in both poetry and prose.
Brownderville has won numerous awards for his poetry, including the Porter Prize (2007). He also received the Jane Geske Award from Prairie Schooner (2010), the Voice Only Poetry Prize from the Missouri Review (2011), and a poetry award from New Millennium Writings (2011); in addition, he received the Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference (2012), made the Bestseller List of the Poetry Foundation (2012), and saw his work listed among the “Top Picks” of the Library Journal (2012).
Brownderville published a second book of poetry, Gust, in 2011, and his third book, A Horse with Holes in It, was published in 2016.
He is also a songwriter and the lead singer of the band Beekeeper Spaceman, whose self-titled debut album was released in the spring of 2023. He collaborated with Jacob Cooper on the piece Ripple in the Sky, which premiered with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2016 and was released by New Amsterdam Records in 2020.
Brownderville began teaching creative writing at SMU in 2012 and since 2016 has served as the editor-in-chief of the Southwest Review, the nation’s third-longest-running literary magazine. In 2021, he created a so-called go-show called Fire Bones, an online narrative series including short films, podcasts, songs, poems, visual art, and more.
For additional information:
Burke, J. Thomas. “The Heart’s Rebellion Against Goodbye: An Interview with Greg Brownderville.” Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies 50 (December 2019): 169–173.
Langille, Erinn Beth. “Greg Brownderville: The Poet from Pumpkin Bend.” Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies 50 (April 2019) 37–42.
Lybarger, Dan. “‘Fire Bones’: Poet Greg Brownderville’s Go-Show.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, March 12, 2021, pp. 1E, 3E. Online at https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2021/mar/12/fire-bones-poet-greg-browndervilles-go-show/ (accessed January 25, 2023).
Simek, Peter. “How an SMU Poet Straddles America’s Cultural Divide.” D Magazine (January 2017).
Woodruff County Monitor-Leader
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