Los Ángeles at Ground Level: Letters To My City by Mike Sonksen

By Brian Dunlap
FROM: Lit Pub

downloadThe poet Mike Sonksen knows more about Los Ángeles than almost anyone. It began when he was a kid, his father and both grandfathers introducing him to the sprawling city by taking him on destination drives. Due to his father’s love of architecture, having, “taught me about…Frank Lloyd Write from an early age,” Sonksen “had a natural interest in maps and geography.” Those drives fostered that interest, dipping in and out of distinctly planned and inhabited neighborhoods that made up the patchwork quilt of, not only the city, but Los Ángeles County.

Continue reading

Advertisements

2 Local Poets: ‘The Spirit of Activism Has Always Been in LA Poetry’

By Steve Chiotakis
FROM: Greater L.A./KCRW

Southern California may not get the credit it deserves for its strong literary community and a great spoken word scene. However, poets Shonda Buchanan and Mike Sonksen tell Greater LA the poetry community could be the most diverse scene in the city of Los Angeles.

Continue reading

LISTING LITERARY LOS ANGELES: PART 1

By Mike Sonksen
FROM: Entropy

IMG_4267Documenting literary Los Angeles is my lifelong project. It started early in my childhood. I grew up going to bookstores across Los Angeles. From the early 1980s, I remember my dad driving us to the Bodhi Tree on Melrose. I remember going to Acres of Books in Long Beach and many other Used Bookstores now long gone. Most of them have been gone so long that I cannot even remember their names. (I still go to the Iliad in North Hollywood.)

Continue reading

Letters To My City

By Brian Dunlap

mike-sonksen-shot-at-woodbury-200x300Mike Sonsken has been a fixture in the Los Angeles Literary community for two decades. He burst on the scene spitting spoken word verse late into the night, at many venues, events, and open mics, some that no longer exist. During the course of these two decades he’s traveled to Echo Park and Sylmar, Venice and the Eastside, Downtown and Torrance, and everywhere in-between, performing poems laced with the city’s stories and history, hosting open mics and readings, being a tour guide to its streets, teaching students poetry and encouraging them to explore who and what Los Ángeles is.

Continue reading

Los Angeles, City of Poets

by Sesshu Foster
FROM: LARB

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailONE DAY, when my brother Paul was 12, he came home wearing a shirt made from the American stars and stripes. My uncle caught him — my uncle owned the East L.A. house we lived in at the time and he reminded us of this fact regularly. He beat Paul to the floor and tore the shirt off. That same year, they put Paul on a Greyhound bus at the old terminal on Sixth and Los Angeles Streets and sent him up to Northern California to live with our dad. After a couple years, Paul was out on his own, moving through a series of hippie communes, Big Sur cabins, and foster homes, where he started reading Allen Ginsberg and the Beats.

Continue reading

Naomi Hirahara’s Los Angeles

By Mike Sonksen
From: Los Angeles Review of Books

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailEditor’s note: Naomi Hirahara has been a pillar of the mystery community since she published her first Mas Arai novel in 2004. To commemorate her final Mas novel, I asked Mike Sonksen, a.k.a. Mike the Poet, bard and historian of contemporary Los Angeles, to go on a walk with Naomi and write a profile that would do her justice. It was a huge task, but I believe he succeeded.

¤

NAOMI HIRAHARA IS one of the most prolific Los Angeles writers of the last few decades. Best known for her Edgar Award–winning seven-book Mas Arai crime novel series, she has also authored several nonfiction titles on Southern California Japanese-American history. Her newest Mas Arai mystery title and the final one of the series, Hiroshima Boy, was just published by Prospect Park Books in March 2018, and in April her latest nonfiction title, Life After Manzanar, was published by Heyday.

Continue reading

Lynell George Sings Los Angeles

by Mike Sonksen

From: Boom California

IMG_1438In the last few years, dozens of articles and think-pieces composed by cultural critics and urban pundits have discussed rising rents across Los Angeles accompanied by the transforming local landscape and built environment. Many of these pieces approach the city from a distant, more theoretical standpoint. The native Angeleno journalist Lynell George provides a much more personal and an even deeper perspective on shifts across Los Angeles because she’s been covering the terrain longer than just about anybody. Her new book of essays and photographs from Angel City Press, After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame, examines and explicates Los Angeles in search of place and belonging with an uncanny verisimilitude.

Continue reading