The form may be vintage, but from the epic odes of Mike Sonksen the oldest form of storytelling is defibrillated into a state of verve and vitality. Best known under the moniker “Mike The Poet,” Sonksen is a third-generation LA native well-acclaimed for his exuberant spoken word performances, published articles, and comprehensive city tours. He is the author of three books, one of which, I’m Alive In Los Angeles!, has been added to the curriculum of over sixty universities and high schools. As a journalist he has been featured in LA Weekly, OC Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, and contributes a regular column to the KCET website. His popular tours have offered many adventurous citygoers a detailed travelogue of landmarks, LA lore, and best-kept-secrets. Of course, poetry is an integral part of his excursions.
A self-professed “peacemaker” and “geographical Rain Main,” Sonksen is living history, at ease in an eclectic range of communities and cultures throughout the City of Angels. “I went to UCLA when I was eighteen, and from eighteen to thirty I had twelve different apartments, all over LA,” says Sonksen. “I lived on the Westside, I lived on the Eastside, I lived in Hollywood, I lived alone, I lived with roommates, I lived in a loft, I lived in Koreaton. You name it.” Mike Sonksen, also known as "Mike the Poet," considers himself equally a scholar and performer, After earning his B. A. from UCLA, he decided to enter graduate school at Cal State LA partly because of the opportunities offered by CCPP. As a graduate student studying for an Interdisciplinary M. A. in English, Creative Writing and History, CCPP provided Sonksen with a place to become involved in many activities and events to enhance his education. He especially prized the multi-generational literary events, writing workshops, opportunities to mentor both undergraduate writers and youth from partner schools and organizations such as GEAR UP and Schurr High School, presentations and class visits by distinguished poets, and chances to interview visiting poets. A number of video clips have been made of the many events that Sonksen and classmates organized participated in from 2011 to 2014 with the support and guidance of CCPP. Sonksen also served for three years as an Editor of Statement Magazine. The literary journal and CCPP worked symbiotically to promote literature on campus and in the community. After completing his M.A. in June 2014, Sonksen continues to write and publish widely. His thesis, Poetics of Location, will be published as a book by Writ Large Press in August 2014. Sonksen also makes frequent appearances for performances and workshops at local universities and high schools. H credits his experience at Cal State LA and CCPP with honing the skills that resulted in his assignment to write weekly online KCET column, L. A. Letters Celebrates Literary Los Angeles: