Blue in Green collection from Survivors’ Poetry co-founder Joe Bidder

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Blue in Green is a new poetry collection by acclaimed poet and co-founder of the Survivors’ Poetry movement and charity Joe Bidder, to be published on 30 March 2021 by Dizzy Press, alongside an online book launch featuring poets, writers and artists. Dizzy Press is a new independent publisher dedicated to disability poetry.

book cover illustration of dolphins

Blue in Green book cover

Blue in Green’s 43 poems span across Joe Bidder’s vibrant life, reflecting his well-travelled life around the world as an oil businessman, visiting jazz clubs in New York City, London and Paris in the 1960s and 70s, to more recent works written in retirement, such as 2020 poem Hackney Downs. Many of the poems delve into Bidder’s personal experiences as a survivor of the mental health system and a disabled person.

Dynamic black and white and colour photographs of jazz giants Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald and others accompany the poems in the book, taken by photographer Freddy Warren at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club during the 1960s.

Blue in Green will be launched on Thursday 22 April 2021 with Joe Bidder and an array of guests including poet Patience Agbabi, comedian and disabled artist Barbara Lisicki and Disability Arts Online editor and founder Colin Hambook.

Joe Bidder is most well known for his trailblazing work, establishing Survivors’ Poetry in 1991 along with fellow poets Peter Campbell, Frank Bangay (1951-2021) and Hilary Porter. Survivors’ Poetry was an international movement and organisation that gave a voice to people who suffered, largely in silence and hidden from the public gaze, from the devastating effects of the mental health system and psychiatry. Survivors’ Poetry provided a literary platform to read and perform, creative writing workshops to support creative development and more importantly “encouraged people to come out as survivors.”

A publisher and critic, Joe Bidder was also chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain’s Arts and Disability Advisory Panel and a member of Arts Council England’s Literature Panel.

Joe Bidder says: “Blue in Green is important because it brings together jazz, poetry, disabled poetry and survivors of the mental health system. I would recommend everyone buy a book and read it. It’s taken one year of hard work to get this book published, and we’re grateful to Arts Council England for enabling this to happen. And this is not the end of it — it’s just one book. Dizzy Press want to publish more poetry by disabled writers. When I published Eyes and Spirals with Hilary Porter, we started with 200 copies and sold out. Then we did another 100. In the end, we sold 1000 books. When I started writing, I set out to write a novel — I didn’t intend to or envisage spending half my life doing this!”

Colin Hambrook, Founder & Editor of Disability Arts Online, says: “Joe’s influence on the UK arts landscape over the last 40 years has been phenomenal in so many ways; but especially in respect of the literary arts and poetry. His dynamism as a poet conveying the brutal and yet fragile honesty of a maverick ego, also belies his influence as a leading force within the spoken word, poetry scene in London and further afield; and his belief in the artistic credibility of those who have journeyed to some of the darkest inner territories of human experience.”

David Hevey, Shape CEO & Artistic Director of Shape, says: “Shape is delighted to support this brilliant new venture and the fantastic writers it platforms, starting with Joe Bidder’s lifetime achievements as a poet.”

Joe Bidder’s Blue in Green will be published by Dizzy Press on 30 March and launched on 22 April 2021. The book will be on sale for £17 paperback / £10 digital. For more information including book launch details see dizzypress.co.uk