The Mall of America has named Brian Sonia-Wallace its writer-in-residence, celebrating the mall’s 25th anniversary, AdWeek reports.
He’s a Los Angeles poet — @RentPoet on Twitter — who’s figured out how to make a buck on the crass commercialism circuit. He was the 2016-17 Amtrak writer-in-residence, too.
“I want to bring poetry back into people’s everyday lives,” Sonia-Wallace said in a news release. “We think of poems as this elite art form, but their roots go back to the dawn of self-expression and communication. The typewriter is my hook–it gets people engaged. From there, conversations can flow that awaken the inner storyteller in everyone.”
What both rhymes with “Nordstrom” and awakens my inner storyteller?
His task will be mighty. He has to write 125 poems — 25 a day for five days — next month, apparently about the mall and mall shoppers. It pays $2,500 — $20 a poem. That more than $60 an hour if you only put in an 8-hour day.
Apparently, a lot of people think they can do that because the Star Tribune reports 4,000 people applied for the gig.
They had to submit a sample of their work that couldn’t be “inaccurate, derogatory, incompatible with, inconsistent with or otherwise contradictory to the Mall of America’s desired presentation.”
That’s not art; that’s advertising, of course, since we’re not talking about free expression.
Today’s mall-poem challenge: Write one.
Ignore the rules.