A generalized expectation-maximization (GEM) algorithm is developed for Bayesian reconstruction, based on locally correlated Markov random-field priors in the form of Gibbs functions and on the Poisson data model. For the M-step of the algorithm, a form of coordinate gradient ascent is derived. The algorithm reduces to the EM maximum-likelihood algorithm as the Markov random-field prior tends towards a uniform distribution. Three different Gibbs function priors are examined. Reconstructions of 3-D images obtained from the Poisson model of single-photon-emission computed tomography are presented.