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Beats & Rhymes: Watts to Leimert Park

'Watts to Leimert Park' is the first sequel to 'L.A. Authors.' Over the years I've performed poetry and taught high school in Leimert Park. Several times a month I would spend the day in the neighborhood with the poet A.K. Toney, one of the most visible writers in the area. Toney and I frequented Eso Won Books, performed in events like the Leimert Park Book Fair and Art Walk. He introduced me to the legendary poet Kamau Daaood. I began to feel that there was an amazing collection of writers and artists in the area that were not getting the credit they deserved.

That feeling grew even stronger after I read several books about the legacy of African-American poets and jazz musicians from South Los Angeles. One of the best was a "The Dark Tree" by Steven Isoardi. In my next column I will go into greater detail on why this is such a great book.

In the meantime let me just say that the legacy of community artists in South Los Angeles is a rich tradition: "Generations of poets, generations of musicians." This poem is a tribute to unsung Kings and Queens of Los Angeles.



About the Author

Third-generation Angeleno Mike "The Poet" Sonksen is a poet, journalist, historian, tour guide, and teacher.
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