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. https://dizzypress.co.uk

Headstart

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

Friday Feature

Someone Is Missing Me by Tina Tamsho-Thomas

This week our Friday Feature celebrates the marvellous Someone Is Missing Me by Tina Tansho-Thomas (Fly On The Wall Press).

Akulah Agbami, Artistic Director of Sheba Soul Ensemble, writes: “In this highly readable, sorely needed collection, Tina Tamsho-Thomas tackles subjects close to many people’s hearts. There are personal poems and political poems; poems designed to make you grin and others to evoke remembrance of horrors past. Some poems catapult us to the heart of Jamaica, or stir us in our front rooms: as we sip our tea, we are encouraged to expect ‘cake, not crumbs.’ Others teach us how we can mend a broken heart. Some poems deal with emotional, complex questions, such as excluded, absent fathers and the continuing colonialist onslaught on Africa. Someone Is Missing Me celebrates the enduring spiritual relationship between Tina and her excluded, Nigerian father. This collection is guaranteed to empower Black women who seek out her wisdom and is an exhortation to re-position ourselves, to assume our rightful stature.”

CarnivalMoss Side Style

The park transformed
by marquee tents,
Black music throbs and beats.
Festive air-fried chicken scents,
long-time friends I meet.
Friends of now and yesterday,
fond memories come to mind,
acquaintances, ex-lovers,
those I left behind.
Is that Corrina over there?
not seen her for a while,
heard she’d locked herself indoors,
it’s good to see her smile.

The babies out in numbers
are mostly golden brown,
Black and White mix easily
when carnival’s in town.
The force are out less forcibly
strollin’ round in twos,
I’d even let them dance with me,
if they could sing the blues!

Welcome to the Millennium

Manchester – linked by Metro lines,
football teams, urban regeneration schemes
and music dreams are made of.

Ancient mills and warehouses
host all night raves, where Ecstasy
extends night into day and in the morning,
manufactures nightmares.

City of commerce and business-like
relationships, cleaned canal ways, café society,
alfresco with attitude, unless unemployed,
undervalued and homeless.

Manchester – city of enterprise,
entrepreneurial drive, car-free zones,
broken homes, pipe dreams,
regeneration schemes.

Welcome to the Millennium.

About the author:

Tina Otito Tamsho-Thomas is a published writer, poet, spoken word artist, writer-in residence, playwright, Black Writing Development pioneer and Human Rights Advocate. Her unique, forthcoming memoir Haunted By The Truth explores identity, adolescence and belonging. Her poem ‘Like Never Before’ was runner up in the Black Artists On The Move, Virtually Living, International Poetry competition 2020. Her work can be found in several anthologies including Red: Contemporary Black British Poetry, Sexual Attraction Revealed and Brown Eyes. Her poetry collection is Someone Is Missing Me, published by Fly on the Wall Press.

Someone Is Missing Me is available now direct from the Fly On The Wall Press online shop: Someone Is Missing Me by Tina Tamsho-Thomas | flyonthewallpoetry (flyonthewallpress.co.uk)

Friday Feature, Poetry

The Sound Recordist – Seán Street

Today we celebrate the anticipated new release from writer, producer and presenter, Seán Street.

The Sound Recordist (Maytree Press) has developed from the author’s lifetime working with sound, reflecting on its crucial place within and around us. The sequence comes directly from listening, using the metaphor of the microphone and recording machine as a non-judgemental witness to place and history, through pain and cruelty to the consolations and inspirations of art and music and the natural world, finally moving towards a quest for silence and stillness. 

Isolation, alienation, exile and loneliness are themes; but above all the human voice – its dialects, timbres and its sense of communicating a self is a recurring motif.

Early Show
Sheep in Fog above Llanfair

Transmission of signals on the edge of things
audible as the eye learns how to listen.
They emerge gradually. Notes on dim staves –
pauses in silence – these clouds with their nut eyes.

Meanwhile telephony marches up the hill
on speechless lines publishing its blank paper’s
white noise until blind voices wake. Fog hears it
but it doesn’t listen, soundproofing the world –

turning things anechoic – until sun burns
through, pouring between mountains, soaking valleys
back to language. And there it is, the remade
grammar of fields, this random punctuation,

the opening sky cueing ‘play-record’ again.
Light-patterns shaping pure music into dance.

Listening with a Spider

Steady summer rain on a low flat roof,
two of us listening, tense with waiting,
each in our corner, and this warm straight sound.

Outside, foliage drinking. The beech trees,
the rain given voice by what it touches,
what it falls onto when the gutters burst.

There are years held in it, and at once now
as always, but time is only this thin,
through a low flat roof, and we are sharers,

a life is as long as one raindrop’s beat
and then the next. We are inside a drum,
nothing for it but to listen, locked down.

What will we take from this, the two of us?
The comfort of the moment in this cave, 
the kindness of stasis, safety of it.

Seán Street has published nine previous poetry collections, the most recent being Camera Obscura (Rockingham Press, 2016). His anthology, Radio Waves – Poems About the Wireless was published by Enitharmon in 2004. Prose includes The Wreck of the Deutschland, a study of the historical background to the great poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins (Souvenir Press, 1992) and The Dymock Poets (Seren 1994/14.) Works relating to sound aesthetics include The Poetry of Radio: The Colour of Sound (Routledge, 2013/14) and The Memory of Sound: Preserving the Sonic Past (Routledge, 2015/16). Between 2017 and 2019, he wrote a further trilogy of books for Palgrave on the theme of sound and its relationship to poetics and philosophy, and his most recent publication on the subject is The Sound of a Room: Memory and the Auditory Presence of Place (Routledge, 2020). His plays have been performed by Salisbury Playhouse and the Royal Theatre, Northampton, both in-house and on tour, and his film-poem, Elias, commissioned by Salisbury Cathedral for their Magna Carta anniversary celebrations, was produced in 2015 by Red Balloon Productions. He has worked in radio for much of his life, writing and presenting features for BBC Radio, and for a number of other global broadcasters.

He is Emeritus Professor at Bournemouth University.


Read a review here: The Sound Recordist by Seán Street (Maytree Press) | Tears in the Fence

The Sound Recordist – available on-line: The Sound Recordist by Seán Street | Maytree Press (bigcartel.com)

Friday Feature, Poem, Poetry

Russian Doll – Teika Marija Smits

Welcome to the first official Friday Feature where we celebrate our wonderful independent poetry presses by sharing two poems from new publications. And what better way to start then with the award winning Indigo Dreams and the new collection by Teika Marija Smits, Russian Doll.

The poems of Russian Doll tell a story of metamorphosis and becoming. Charting the ever-shifting terrain of selfhood, they speak of the joys and challenges of being both daughter and mother; schoolgirl and middle-aged woman; and detail the many ways in which the stories of our lives are as multicoloured and multi-layered as a Russian doll.

Changeling

By the time you’d conjured yourself up
out of nothing more than love and cells,
I knew too much about changelings,
the wickedness of fairies.

So when you made me sick and round and fat,
unable to think or feel or care,
I couldn’t help but wonder
if I’d already been tricked.

Fairies are not to be underestimated.

And when, after nine months, you demanded
to be let out, to be with your fairy kin
I couldn’t help but scream:
“Go, go, go!”

Your father, understanding my fear,
gently placed you on my chest,
reminded me of our protections:
the iron tablets I’d been taking, the boxwood round the house,
and allowed me to fall in love with you.


Russian Doll

I am heavy with the hopes
of my younger selves – the ones
who dreamt of all I could be.

They call to me, disappointed,
as my once-bright dress
begins to dull, as I thin

and am worn smooth by little hands
that dismantle me daily.
I answer with excuses and apologies.

Life intrudes, I explain;
takes us apart
and rebuilds us askew.

Teika Marija Smits is a writer, freelance editor and mother-of-two. Her poems have been widely published. Teika was formerly the managing editor of Mother’s Milk Books and is now an Editor-at-Large at Valley Press alongside running The Book Stewards – a writers’ support site that she manages with her husband. In her spare moments she likes to doodle, draw and paint. More information here: teikamarijasmits.com



www.indigodreams.co.uk/teika-marija-smits/4595231893

Publication 25/03/2021 (In stock now)