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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Matt Sedillo, Creative Writing Workshops, LitFest Pasadena and Teaching Artists

by Brian Dunlap

cropped-lazinefest-webbanner1A lot has happened in Los Ángeles Literature in May. Writers were running workshops for the community and they all came together on the 19th and 20th in Pasadena’s Theater District for the 7th Annual LitFest Pasadena, celebrating local writers and presses. Plus, as many L.A. writers teach at local high schools, community colleges and universities and as the school year ends, they’ve been reflecting on the impact they’ve had on their students. One has been recognized for his teaching with an award.

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PROFILE OF A MODERN-DAY POET IN L.A.: MIKE THE POET

by ASTRID
From: L.A. Taco

IMG_9023“Los Angeles is not Baywatch or the Beach Boys, it is getting carne asada tacos from a taco truck and bacon wrapped hot dogs at two in the morning.”

These are the words of Mike Sonksen, a poet, historian, activist, teacher, husband, and father better known as Mike the Poet. The nickname was given to Mike at the age of 23, by a friend who noticed he always carried a notebook. “You know Mike, you’re not Mike Sonksen, you’re Mike the Poet.”

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