I Sold These Poems, Now I Want Them Back


By Brian Sonia-Wallace

Part wandering minstrel, part skilled artisan, street-merchant Brian Sonia-Wallace offers an exceptional artistic service—he creates poems to order. He asks you a few simple questions—who the poem is for, and what its subject should be—and then bashes away at his portable manual typewriter. Ten minutes or so later, you hold in your hand a one-of-a-kind, uniquely crafted poem on a small, oblong-shaped slip of paper. It’s an indescribably special gift that he shares with you. The poem exists only when it’s in your possession.

Brian’s book of poetry, I Sold These Poems, Now I Want Them Back, presents a carefully chosen selection of some of those “rent” poems he sold or gave away; the ones he made photographic copies of before they disappeared from his sight.


Brian Sonia-Wallace began busking poetry on the street full-time in September, 2014. Since then, he has written for tech companies and governments, toured nationally and internationally, and been nominated for a 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award. Brian is a Partner at the Melrose Poetry Bureau and lives in Los Angeles.


William Shaw, The Oxford Culture Review



In stock


Paperback: 68 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9837904-6-4
Product Dimensions:  6 x 9 x 1/8 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.8 oz.

This is a beautiful collection. Raw, intimate, haunting….this selection of poems by Brian Sonia-Wallace, crafted on demand, speaks of yearning, gut-wrenching solitude, urban anxiety, fleeting love (lost and found), and of life’s many small triumphs.

~ Pauline Adamek, ArtsBeatLA

I Sold These Poems, Now I Want Them Back opens with, “At our best, we are storytellers.” Sure, this is true of poets, but also of the strangers who commissioned Brian Sonia-Wallace to spontaneously combust each brief encounter with RENT into poetry. Is it any wonder that after years of letting the secret desires of others possess him, this poet has crafted a collection that narrates the often word-elusive ache of unspoken longing? The poems are our heaviest ghost lifting as smoke from past fireworks. This book is as personal as it is collective—a feat that only years of being the messenger, a street soothsayer—can manifest.

~ Nicelle Davis, Author of Circe, Becoming Judas,
In the Circus of You, and The Walled Wife (forthcoming)

As a poet, Brian is fearless. He writes like base jumping, like sky-diving, like hurling himself headfirst into the madness of the world. In each of these poems you hold in your hands, he has put the pedal to the metal—without a seat belt—and maniacally found beauty, connection, and truth. Enjoy, dear reader—but maybe wear a seat belt.

~ Bobby Gordon, Co-Founder, Melrose Poetry Bureau
and UCLA Lecturer in Spoken Word



Additional information

Dimensions 8.5 × 5.5 × .25 in