Mike the Poet
Mike the Poet

Mike Sonksen, also known as, Mike the Poet, is a 3rd-generation LA native acclaimed for poetry performances, published articles & legendary city tours. Poet, journalist, historian, tour guide, and teacher, he graduated from the University of California Los Angeles and is currently pursuing an advanced degree at California State University Los Angeles. Sonksen's book I AM ALIVE IN LOS ANGELES! has been added to the curriculum of several universities. His weekly KCET column "LA Letters" celebrates bright moments from Literary Los Angeles.


WHAT INSPIRES ME:  Los Angeles streets, Beaux-Arts & Art Deco architecture, chaparral hillsides, craftsman architecture, Roy Ayers, Donald Byrd, Jeff Buckley, bookstores, coastal hikes

FAVORITE PLACE TO GET AWAY IN MY AREA: Cascades Park in Monterey Park and Rio Hondo Nature Preserve

FAVORITE WRITERS: William Carlos Williams, Mike Davis, Nelson Algren, Steinbeck, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Jane Jacobs, Lewis Mumford, Ada Louise Huxtable, Haki Madhubuti, Kamau Brathwaite



PERFECT SOUNDTRACK FORWRITING: DJ I-Pod shuffling between Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers, early 90s hip hop like Common & Tribe, Marvin Gaye, Bitches Brew, Mingus & Joni Mitchell, Queens of the Stone Age, Elliot Smith, Stereolab

WHY I LOVE WHERE I LIVE: I love where I live for the access to a bunch of great food and the hillsides I can hike with my daughter and wife.

Recent Articles
The Poetry Bomb: A Weapon of Mass Discussion
The Poetry Bomb: A Weapon of Mass Discussion
S.A. Griffin's got a bomb...but it's not filled with what you would expect. Take a tour with "The Poetry Bomb" as his 'disruption' bursts in Venice.
Gil Scott-Heron and Words from His Daughter Gia
Gil Scott-Heron and Words from His Daughter Gia
Poet Gia Scott-Heron, daughter of the late Gil Scott-Heron, hailed by many as the Godfather of Rap, speaks about her father's work, their relationship and her own blossoming literary career.
Beyond 'Whole Foods Parking Lot,' DJ Dave Makes Viral Video Gold
Beyond 'Whole Foods Parking Lot,' DJ Dave Makes Viral Video Gold
The Berkeley-born David Wittman aka DJ Dave is a musical virtuoso skilled in composing, drumming, DJing, rhyming and producing. Following the success of the YouTube hit "Whole Foods Parking Lot," he's looking to expand his craft.
< Prev 1 Next >
section header: disciplines
icon, Architecture/ Design discipline

Architecture/ Design

California becomes an international export by redefining the concept of city and home.

icon, Community Arts discipline

Community Arts

Through workshops, education and placed based projects, art is the connective tissue of a community.

icon, Cultural Politics discipline

Cultural Politics

Funding bubbles, cultural deserts and the politics of access to the arts in the 21st century.

icon, Film & Media Arts discipline

Film & Media Arts

At the shadow of the entertainment industry, video artists and underground filmmakers take a stand.

icon, Literature discipline


Noir, sunshine and dystopia create a multi-ethnic narrative that is read, watched and admired around the globe.

icon, Multi-Disciplinary discipline


Multi-hyphenate works that combine disciplines, remix dogmas, and reinvent the wheel.

icon, Music discipline


A dialogue between cultures, the music of our state serves up the California dream like no other artform.

icon, Performance discipline


Staging the drama of California through dance, music and theater.

icon, Visual Arts discipline

Visual Arts

Breaking away from the European and New York vanguard, California reinvents the art world.

Featured • More Columnists
Loading Columnists...