The Poetry of Strangers: What I Learned Traveling America with a Typewriter

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$16.99  $15.80
Harper Perennial
Publish Date
5.2 X 7.9 X 0.8 inches | 0.5 pounds

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About the Author

Brian Sonia-Wallace has been described as a "creative genius" by the LA's Department of Cultural Affairs and "disappointingly normal" by the New York Times. He's written for the Guardian, Rolling Stone, and more. He has been the resident writer for Amtrak, the Dollar Shave Club, and Mall of America to name a few. His company, RENT Poet, was featured on NPR's How I Built This.


In The Poetry of Strangers, Brian Sonia-Wallace jumps a train and goes "ridin' the rail, " listening, exchanging poems with the riders. Poems are no longer poems, they become a "private America," they blur from moments of imprisonment to open lines of freedom, "corazón" listening, and cross-border investigations to visceral notes on being from a "bad country." Is this book about poetry, strangers, liberation or the "shrapnel interactions" of minds, bodies and lands flaming towards humanity? A text we have been dreaming of - the act of empowering invisibilized peoples, literature and human beings in danger. -- Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, Emeritus

"I adore what Brian Sonia-Wallace is doing, and his voice in writing about poetry in human lives is endearing, smart, captivating, humane, compassionate--everything I wish our country were, every day." -- Naomi Shihab Nye, New York Magazine Poetry Editor and the Young People's Poet Laureate of the Poetry Foundation, Chicago

"Exploring America by road and rail, Brian Sonia-Wallace offers his presence to strangers, typing poems for them and, in turn, learning from them about sex, music, politics, religion, and magic. He peers past our consumerism and polarization to uncover the intimate desire of every one of us: to be heard, and to receive the gift of words." -- Richard Polt, author of The Typewriter Revolution

"While poetic verse is the common denominator of each essay, the theme that ties it all together is how similar we all are at the core... An enlightening project that exposes how alike we are in our differences." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Earnest and soulful....Readers will be heartened and inspired by Sonia-Wallace's artistic and spiritual coming of age." -- Publishers Weekly