Arts & Letters Alumni at Cal State L.A.

Charles Bukowski 

Henry Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski; August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) was a German-born American poet, novelist and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural, and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. His work addresses the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over sixty books.  Read more.

James T. Butts, Jr. 

James T. Butts, Jr. (born August 1, 1953) is the mayor of Inglewood, California. He rose through the ranks of law enforcement in Inglewood during the 1970s and 1980s, eventually becoming a captain. He then worked as Chief of Police in Santa Monica, California from 1991 to 2006. Butts then took a public safety position with Los Angeles World Airports in 2006. He was elected mayor of Inglewood in 2010 and led efforts that culminated in the 2013 renovation and reopening of The Forum in Inglewood as a sports and performance venue. Butts holds an MBA degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona  and a Bachelor of Science from California State University, Los Angeles.  Read more.

Salvador B. Castro 

Salvador B. Castro (October 25, 1933 – April 15, 2013) was a Mexican-American educator and activist. He was most well known for his role in the 1968 East Los Angeles high school walkouts, a series of protests against unequal conditions in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools. Although he retired, he continued to lecture about his experiences and the importance of education, especially for Mexican Americans. Castro was born in Los Angeles and began kindergarten at Belvedere Elementary School in East Los Angeles, but moved to Mexico when his father was forcibly repatriated during the "Repatriation Movement". There he attended a private elementary school in Mazatlán, Sinaloa. Read more.

Wanda Coleman 

Wanda Coleman was born Wanda Evans, and grew up in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles during the 1960s. She received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The NEA, and the California Arts Council (in fiction and in poetry). She was the first C.O.L.A. literary fellow (Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, 2003). Her honors included an Emmy in Daytime Drama writing, The 1999 Lenore Marshall Prize (for "Bathwater Wine"), and a nomination for the 2001 National Book Awards (for "Mercurochrome"). She was a finalist for California poet laureate (2005). She is also an alumni at from California State University, Los Angeles.  Read more.

Sesshu Foster 

Sesshu Foster is an American poet .He has taught composition and literature in East LA since 1985, and has also taught at the University of Iowa, the California Institute of the Arts, the  University of California, Santa Cruz and the Jack Kerouac School’s 's Summer Writing Program. He was also in residence at California State University, Los Angeles.  Read more.

Matt Jacobson 

Cinematographer, director and University of Kansas film instructor Matt Jacobson has more than 50 feature film and video credits, including two Sundance Film Festival features, Kevin Willmott's CSA: Confederate States of America, and Bukowski: Born Into This, directed by John Dullaghan. He is also an alumni from California State University, Los Angeles.  Read more.

Marlon Parry

Marlon Parry was born on September 12, 1959 in Dearborn, Michigan, USA. He was a producer and director, known for Karla (2006), Senior Skip Day  (2008) and La Linea - The Line (2009). He is also an alumni from California State University, Los Angeles. He died on May 6, 2011 in Los Angeles, California, USA.


Gary Phillips 

Gary Phillips is a critically acclaimed author of mysteries and graphic novels. Raised in South Central Los Angeles, Phillips grew up reading comics, classic pulp and detective fiction, and the likes of Iceberg Slim and took inspiration from all this when he created his first series character, Ivan Monk, in the early 1990s. A private detective adept at navigating the racial tensions of modern L. A. and beyond, Monk has appeared in four novels and one short story collection, Monkology (2011).  Read more.

Luis J. Rodriguez 

Luis J. Rodriguez (born 1954) is an American poet, novelist, journalist, critic, and columnist. He is the 2014 Los Angeles Poet Laureate.[1] He is recognized as a major figure in contemporary Chicano literature, and has received various awards for his work. His best-known work, Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A., received the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, among others. It has been the subject of controversy when included on reading lists in California, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas schools due to its frank depictions of gang life.  Read more.

Carolyn See 

Carolyn See is an adjunct professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of nine books, including the memoir, Dreaming: Hard Luck and Good Times in America, an advice book on writing, Making a Literary Life, and the novels There Will Never Be Another You and The Handyman. See earned her associate degree from Los Angeles City College and her M.A. from California State University Los Angeles.  Read more.

Mike Sonksen 

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.  Read more.