This was a vanity project produced in my spare time over a number of months. As a spoken word artist in my spare time I'd wanted to create a map of our emerging artform and the players who have shaped it. After I put out a call on social media asking for poets' permission to be included in it, It soon became a behemoth of an administration exercise as every poet and their dog wanted to be on it. But I eventually settled on a manageable number of 333 poets.
Huge thanks must be given to big names like Phill Jupitus, Benjamin Zephania, John Cooper Clark and Michael Rosen for agreeing to be part of it and lending their kudos to the project. Hundreds of copies were shifted in the first week of sale and the Scottish Poetry Library bought copies to sell there.
Due to the success of the posters I created a teatowel which sold even better than the posters.
There follows some comments from customers and from poets who were involved in the project. They can get a tad whimsical...
"With the egotistical world of performance poetry I wouldn't believe so many big heads would fit on a king size quilt cover, never mind a tea towel. But the multi talented Mr Tyrrell some how managed it without sacrificing the detail of his trademark uncanny portraits. A thorough and absorbent piece of work"
"The poster and tea towel have been personal landmarks in my life. I was so honoured to be a part of something so huge and beautiful. Our movement of words has become immortalized and noted. A snapshot in time. All down to one man and his patient hand"
"Witty and characteristic illustrations that really captured the personalities involved"
"Love the poets tea towel - so good I bought two! One I framed and art-bombed into Tate Modern on a quiet Sunday afternoon and the other one is reserved for drying the delicate inside of my transcendental melancholy"
"I regularly get photos from friends in the UK and Ireland who have seen my face on that tea towel. It was a hugely ambitious idea which brought together a community in a totally new way. It meant more than that too - Ireland has a billion tourist shops selling towels and posters of the famous Irish poets - all dead, white men! It was so powerful to see a true representation of the diversity and vibrancy of the poetry scene. Scott created that in his free time and it’s a huge achievement"
"I’m the proud owner of both the poster map and tea towel. The map focuses my attention when I’m trying to write a poem. You can almost hear the sighs and tuts coming down from the galaxy of talent that surrounds my contented mug in amongst them all. The tea towel has become the go to cloth for cleaning my glass after a whisky or two. There is something comforting in using Benjamin Zephaniah for such a ritual in the hope some of his abundant talent is left on the glass for the next dram"
"Scott's poet map and tea towels are brilliant. What an undertaking and what a result. It seems like I find a new poet every time I look."
"I have and am on the poster. Great quality and created a feeling of community among poets in Ireland and the U.K. I felt like part of something"
"I love the design of Scott Tyrrell’s Spoken Word Map. We have it framed in our spare room and I love noticing new things about it every time I look. It’s a brilliant work of art"