"Placing a Premium on Pragmatism": the Working Poet

A few months ago, we alerted readers to a unique opportunity: the Mall of America, purportedly the biggest shopping mall in the country, was seeking a Writer in Residence. The winner would spend five days deeply immersed in the Mall and writing about it. Perks would include not only bragging rights, but also four nights in a hotel, a $400 mall gift card, and a $2,500 honorarium. Four thousand people applied, and a winner was announced: poet Brian Sonia-Wallace.

Interestingly, Sonia-Wallace had previously won a highly publicized Amtrak residency. Was an artist in residence for the City of Los Angeles. And has held similar gigs with the National Park Service and even the Dollar Shave Club. How does he do it? As The New York Times put it, "Mr. Sonia-Wallace has managed to scrape together a living as a poet by placing a premium on pragmatism." His experience is an illustrative example of how to get by as a working writer. Get the full story here