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World Ball Notebook Paperback – January 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"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." --Poetry Project Newsletter, December 2008/January 2009

"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." --San Francisco Chronicle, Dec.24, 2008

"Foster divides World Ball Notebook into 118 "Games" and begins with special thanks to his daughters' soccer coach. But his prose poems, letter-poems, checklists, shopping lists, and overheard conversations are not about soccer, exactly. Rather, they emulate soccer: they are global, tachycardic, and filled with lightning-swift exchanges. Standout poems like Game 101 combine road-trip fog with political statement: "when the officer of the state patrol asks you to step out of the vehicle you translate this to mean, I feel it, I too feel I must vomit..." 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."--The University of Arizona Poetry Center --The University of Arizona Poetry Center

"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." --Bloomsbury Review

"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, Critical Mass: Blog of the National Book Critics Circle

"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 --Broken Pencil

"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, Pleiades

About the Author

Author of City Terrace Field Manual(Kaya Press, 1996), and Atomik Aztex (City Lights, 2005), Sesshu Foster teaches literature and composition in East L.A., where he grew up. His poetry has been published in numerous anthologies and journals. Invocation L.A.: Multicultural Urban Poetry, which he edited with Naomi Quinonez and Michelle Clinton, won a 1990 American Book Award.

More About the Author

Sesshu Foster has taught composition and literature in East L.A. for 20 years. He's also taught writing at the University of Iowa, the California Institute for the Arts, the University of California, Santa Cruz and Naropa University's Summer Writing Program. His work has been published in The Oxford Anthology of Modern American Poetry, Language for a New Century: Poetry from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond, and State of the Union: 50 Political Poems. One of his last readings at St. Mark's Poetry Project NYC is Mp3 archived at www.salon.com and local readings are archived at www.sicklyseason.com. He is currently collaborating with artist Arturo Romo and other writers on the website, www.ELAguide.org. His most recent books are the novel Atomik Aztex and World Ball Notebook. Atomik Aztex won a 2006 Believer Magazine Annual Book Prize and World Ball Notebook won the 2009 Asian American Writers Workshop Poetry Prize. His blog, with links to Mp3 files, photos and video is www.atomikaztex.wordpress.com.

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