CLAS celebrates the release of the second edition of faculty member Mike Sonksen’s book Letters to My City, published by Writ Large Projects. The second edition includes new essays, including one on his mentor, the late Mike Davis, legendary author of City of Quartz.
Sonksen says his relationship with Davis and the important role he played in his life as a student, poet, and L.A. aficionado played a key role in the development of a second edition of his book. “After my mentor Mike Davis died, there was a lot on my mind, and I ended up writing almost 3,000 words on my 25-year relationship with him. In December 2022, my publisher Chiwan Choi from Writ Large Projects suggested we create a second edition of Letters to My City with my essay on Davis.”
The new edition also includes an essay on his philosophy of using local history and geography in his poetry and teaching. There is a teaching guide that includes lesson plans and writing prompts for anyone that wants to use the books in their curriculum. Indeed, Sonksen’s book is a regular fixture on college syllabi. Jennifer Hicks, a lecturer at Cal State, Los Angeles, says:
“Mike Sonksen’s book Letters to My City is more than just a book I got to teach in my Literary LA class at Cal State, Los Angeles. It is a revelation. Mike’s prose, poetry, and personality blister every page and make this book a treasure for teachers in Los Angeles. He is the man who made me love L.A.”
Shana Nys Dambrot, Arts Editor for the LA Weekly, reviewed the new edition: “In emotional and witty, eccentric and academic, rhythmic and detail-rich observations and celebrations, Sonksen reveals and reintroduces us to a city we could all stand to know a bit better.”