World Ball Notebook

Press Reviews

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

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."

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."