World Ball Notebook

Critical Mass

"Ever inventive, Foster doesn't call these 118 entries poems, he calls them games, as in the Mesoamerican sport that's played with a stone ball — all the more challenging, all the more fragile. Just like in his satyrical novel Atomik Aztex, in which he created a parallel universe in which the Aztecs were not conquered by the Spaniards, the playing field of World Ball Notebook — where conflict and corruption reign supreme — begins to look startlingly and comfortably familiar."
— Rigoberto Gonzalez

Broken Pencil

"This isn't the sweeping canvas of his previous novel, the masterful Atomik Aztex, it is, instead, a book of quiet, weirdly hilarious, yet searing moments. . . . It's a slowly stitched together collection of small incidents that gradually start to seem more defiant than random, more funny than futile."
—Hal Niedzviecki


"Foster's work exists at the intersection of writing the continuous present and capturing singular moments within the flow of life. . . . These poems lift great silences off any small detail, whether in the world or in his imagination. And even though Foster's work takes us to various places around the world, it remains focused on Los Angeles and that 'infinite city’s requirements, distractions, possibilities.’" —Craig Santos Perez

World Ball Notebook
Nov 8, 2009

"Sesshu Foster reads from a collection of narrative prose poems from the genre-breaking World Ball Notebook. (Running Time: 11:00.)

The first team sport in human history was played with a ball made of stone, on courts that have been found from the Mayan ruins of Central America to Arizona. Thus we find a soccer dad walking the sidelines of a scuffed LA field, its goal lines swirling, nets strung loosely between daylight and the spirit world -- Foster's inimitably fierce and powerfully evocative mix of the fantastic and the mundane."

- The Writer's Block, KQED

Steve Abee & Sesshu Foster
Dec 23, 2009

"Two powerful Los Angeles poets on par with other Angelino luminaries like Kamau Daaood, Luis Rodriguez & Lewis MacAdams are Steve Abee & Sesshu Foster. Both of these authors released new books recently. Over the course of one week in September 2009, I was able to see both poets read live. Though they are both very individual and stylized they share an urgency and raw truth seldom seen or spoken of in celluloid city."

- Mike Sonksen, on his blog

City Lights Books: Sesshu Foster, World Ball Notebook
Apr 30, 2009
"[Foster] is playful, and of course we see this in the game format of the this book, i.e. each poem is a "game". . . Optometry questionnaires and Trader Joe's grocery lists, internet memes are all a part of that world of soccer games, giving his daughter rides to the wrong airport during LA rush hour gridlock traffic, standing in line at the DMV for hours and having a crappy or dorky driver's license picture to commemorate those many hours in the DMV line, and so the poetic forms he uses also have range, as does the book's emotional content." - Barbara Jane Reyes, Poeta y Diwata

Bloomsbury Review
"Sesshu Foster uses prose poems and mixed-genre texts to elevate the timeless game of soccer onto new levels of action and challenge. Playing fields in East L.A. become universal planes where human encounters bring surprise and drama. Foster's brief forms expand into tales of personal experience that open to larger truths about culture, sports, and the shrinking world where the individual kicks and tosses a ball onto the courtyard to gain a chance to survive. These prose poems are building blocks toward a vibrant understanding of how individuals clash, reunite, and score with language, vision, and the competitive edge that a keen poet brings to generations of textual games." —Ray Gonzalez, March/April 2009

University of Arizona Poetry Center

"A little queasy and uneasy, but in a good way, World Ball Notebook travels widely in space and time, offering bursts of adrenaline and, afterwards, weary clarity."

Sesshu Foster Profile
Jul 27, 2008
"Sesshu Foster is a contemporary poet whose work focuses on the multifaceted identities of the people who live and work in Los Angeles. More specifically, his work examines how people of different ethnic backgrounds interact within the power structure of Los Angeles and how they affect the cultural composition of the city." - Discover Nikkei

R. Zamora Linmark and Sesshu Foster
Oct 5, 2008
"Sesshu Foster's reading, his work, I am still trying to figure out what to do about it in my head. He briefly discussed how working on different writing projects differs, and regarding his very soon forthcoming World Ball Notebooks, he’s gathered fragments, postcards, etc. and I can only imagine he’s crafted them into some kind of overarching narrative involving literal and figurative ball game. Still, with some of his fragments, I’d think I was starting to get the image, then what follows is some non sequitur that maybe isn’t so non sequitur. One of his fragments I keep thinking of: the man on the phone with this woman, who is also in the next room, and the miscommunication here is that it seems neither know they are in adjacent rooms. So as he tells her on the phone to hold on, because he has to respond to the woman next door, she is on the phone, indignant at being put aside by him. The end image: biting into a hotdog, that salt and hot and (maybe) wet. Yo, what did I miss there?" - Barbara Jane Reyes, Poeta y Diwata

Ave 50 Studio - Sesshu Foster
Nov 16, 2008

Sesshu Foster reads his work at Avenue 50 Studio in video clip.

- www.Poetry.LA

Poetry Project
"The ruled lines of a notebook take control in a book where the logic of the list becomes the backbone of urban collectivity, and where the game becomes written instruction as much as an invitation to play."

San Francisco Chronicle

"Foster's strength is twofold: As an observer, he transforms the most mundane events into moments of intense awareness; as a writer, he reduces the chaos of an inexplicable world into tightly cropped snapshots. . . . For those just discovering Foster, 'Notebook' stands well on its own. For those familiar with his two previous titles — 'City Terrace Field Manual,' a prose poem survival guide of sorts to inner-city Los Angeles, and 'Atomik Aztex,' a gritty genre-bending novel about an alternate universe in which the indigenous Azteks rule the world —- 'World Ball Notebook' feels like the completion of a trilogy. While maintaining Foster's signature taut, almost abbreviated language, 'Notebook' seems more settled, more self-aware than either previous book."