sesshu foster dust on the roadside, deep dust on leaves, crumbs, crumbling… 25 years teaching (snap fingers). smoky haze crosses thoughts. free helicopter ride across the cascades south of el dorado glacier with broken ankle & $50. ranger joe lowe (i was so happy to see him) called for a chopper to get me out of the stehekin river where i was so free & easy on the rocks 40 miles from my vehicle—joe lowe asked me to critique his story. i critiqued joe’s story & sent him a check for $100. with a bottle of percodan or percocet from the ER, i rode 1200 miles back to los angeles, my broken leg wrapped in an ace bandage, writing notes about whatever i saw looking backwards. the pain of 1200 miles on a broken ankle was nothing like after they screwed a piece of steel on it & inserted eight screws. i sent the notes to the BELIEVER MAGAZINE in thanks for their 2006 award, and they said thanks, sesshu.
Poet, teacher, and community activist Sesshu Foster grew up in in East Los Angeles. He earned his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is the author of the poetry collections City Terrace Field Manual (Kaya Press, 1996), American Loneliness: Selected Poems (2006), World Ball Notebook (2009), which won an American Book Award and an Asian American Literary Award for Poetry, and City of the Future. Foster is the author of the novel of speculative fiction Atomik Aztex (2005), which won the Believer Book Award and imagines an America free of European colonizers. Foster’s work has been published in The Oxford Anthology of Modern American Poetry (2000), Language for a New Century: Poetry from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond (2008), and State of the Union: 50 Political Poems (2008). He co-edited the anthology Invocation L.A.: Urban Multicultural Poetry (1989). Foster has taught in East LA for 25 years as well as at the University of Iowa, the California Institute for the Arts, Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Pomona University, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He lives in Los Angeles.
“This is pure California mainlined straight into language that sears the skin off 99 percent of what purports to be literary competence. In a just world, Foster would be selling millions of copies of his beautiful accomplishment, but the world’s not just, as the book’s brilliant, crystalline pieces make plain, and that’s why he’s writing and why you should hear him and buy his book.”
— San Francisco Bay Guardian
“This stuff is crackling! Foster’s brilliant eye for the essentially human and his crisp blue-collar imagery create an important, powerful, moving prosody—the best since Kerouac and beyond.”
— Wanda Coleman
“I thank Sesshu Foster for detailing the poetic soundtrack of a people and a place, of their history and their dreams. I know these streets, these images, these songs and voices; they reverberate inside me still, taking me back to the concrete river, the City Terrace topography. Sesshu Foster is dangerous, ese! The way a poet should be.”
— Luis J. Rodriguez
“Sesshu Foster startles you, surprises you, even shocks you; his writing sparkles with new insights and images; at the same time, he engages you in the context of continuing history and you realize you’re in what could be familiar territory: ‘Ah, yes–how it is!'”
— Lawson Fusao Inada
Sesshu Foster news
There are so many accolades to celebrate that the Tiger is running out of confetti poppers! Chris Kraus named Sesshu Foster’s CITY OF THE FUTURE as one of the “Books of the Year 2018” in The Times Literary Supplement. Congratulations, Sesshu!
The SoCalPoFest is an annual poetry festival that relocates each year to a different Southern California community. Dedicated to preserving the diversity of voices within SoCal communities, this diversity extends across cultural lines and lines related to schools of poetic thought. Kaya Press is excited to support this event by participating in the SoCal Literary […]
Sesshu Foster’s much-anticipated new poetry collection, City of the Future, will be officially released by Kaya Press on May 1, 2018, but available for pre-order now. Foster will be making many appearances this Spring in support of the book in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and San Diego. Stay tuned for more events! Sesshu […]
On May 1, 2018, Kaya Press will be rolling out our second book by Sesshu Foster, City of the Future! About City of the Future: Twenty-one years after Kaya Press first published Sesshu Foster’s City Terrace Field Manual, a powerful collection of prose poems that map the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Foster’s childhood, comes a new collection […]