Friday Feature, Jazz

Blue in Green – Joe Bidder

Our featured publication this week shines the spotlight on a brand new publisher doing some extraordinary work in the poetry world.

Dizzy Press is a new independent literary publisher dedicated to producing high quality books of poetry by disabled poets. Their first publication, and our Friday Feature, Blue in Green was made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England’s National Lottery funded Project Grant scheme. Dizzy Press aims to publish 10 books in the next 10 years, bringing a range of voices from the UK to poetry audiences globally.


Inside the barber shop
I pose before the mirror,
then stop –
as the age
flashes to my face.
He cuts away
at the loose ends
as I cut away
from the past.
The face reflects the fear
in the polished glass,
my feet want to flee
but lead pounds in veins
where blood used to be.
So, I sit seemingly patient
whilst my face is transformed
from a hairy throwback Aztec
to a slickly groomed Casual.
It should be easy
to adopt this tame new role,
sink back inside
the well-worn groove,
rest on my record.
As grey speckled hairs
fall thick to the floor
I fear the head-hunter
will search once more,
the balding patch
does not please at all;
when the cutting is finished
he shows the back of my neck –
so clean and neat
that I panic,
reach for my cash,
nearly over-tipping
in haste
to escape
the reflection
of my face.

The Tool of My Trade

The tool of my trade
is not a club or a whip
not a bucket or spade
or word from my lip,
the tool of my trade
is a pen.
It’s not the pen of the teacher
though he tries very hard,
not the end of the money man
counting jeans in Taiwan:
not my pen.
My pen is poised to strike
though I’m a peaceful man;
my pen probes originality
but my origins aren’t unique.
The tool of my trade
is not a pick or an axe
not a mechanical aid
or tune from a sax,
the tool of my trade
is a pen.
It’s not the pen of the clerk
scuffling at computer’s foot,
not the pen of the psychiatrist
scribbling prescriptions:
not my pen.
My pen awakes when I least expect,
makes me glide on my dreams
to challenge my mind:
my pen is my implement.
Now, I must confess:
the tool of my trade
is not my pen,
though I thought
I was in control
the pen is the master of my soul
for I am the tool of the trade
of my pen.

About the author: 

Joe Bidder is a poet, published author and founding member of Survivors’ Poetry. He is the author of Blue in Green. He is also a writer, critic and publisher. Joe served as chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain’s Arts and Disability Advisory Panel and was a member of Arts Council England’s Literature Panel. Joe was born in 1941. In his life, Joe worked as a chemical engineer. He graduated from Imperial College in 1962. He travelled and worked around the world, selling oil refineries and power stations as a successful businessman. At age 33, he started writing poetry seriously.

In 1991, Joe co-founded Survivors’ Poetry along with Peter Campbell, Frank Bangay, and Hilary Porter. Survivors’ Poetry nights hosted diverse line-ups of music, poetry and comedy, attracting audiences and fans from across the UK. Acts included comedians Harry Enfield, Paul Merton, Molly Brown and Julian Clary; poets Patience Agbabi and Jean Binta Breeze; and other then up and coming names. What started as a self-help group, Survivors’ Poetry soon became a charity and evolved into a UK and global movement, inspiring chapters in Manchester, Leeds and throughout the UK.

As a publisher, Joe Bidder set up Survivor’s Press and published two poetry anthologies.

Blue in Green is available now with a launch event planned for the 22 April – you can find out more here: BLUE IN GREEN by Joe Bidder | Dizzy Press

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