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During National Poetry Month, the Department of English at California State University, Dominguez Hills will host the annual Pat Eliet Lecture featuring poet and novelist Sesshu Foster as the guest speaker on Thursday, April 14, at 7 p.m. in the Loker Student Union Ballroom. The lecture, with a book signing immediately following, is free and open to the public.

Los Angeles author and poet Sesshu Foster will deliver the Annual Pat Eliet Memorial Lecture on April 14.Los Angeles author and poet Sesshu Foster will deliver the Annual Pat Eliet Memorial Lecture on April 14.

For his work, Foster draws on his experience growing up in East Los Angeles and its ethnic evolution, as well as the influence of his parent’s experiences; his mother was incarcerated in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II, and his father became engaged in post-war counter-culture philosophies.

“By and large, East L.A. has an untold history and unrecognized stories. In a city where movies and entertainment play a major role in the imagination of its citizens, a great deal of daily life goes ignored. A lot of my work deals with that,” said the Japanese-American writer, who also identifies with the Chicano population of fellow Los Angelenos.

Foster was recommended for the lecture series by Dr. Randolph Cauthen, associate professor of English and poet-in-residence, because of the author’s urban and cross-cultural sensibilities.

“Sesshu’s work is deeply rooted in the landscapes of Southern California and in particular East L.A. He finds tremendous beauty and meaning in that landscape without ignoring the fact that it’s also a locus of the worst problems of our wounded, divided society. And he calls out the ones who inflict the wounds. He has a great eye, great ear, and great heart,” said Cauthen.

During the lecture, Foster will be reading from and discussing his books, “World Ball Notebook” and “Atomik Aztex.” Copies of his books will be available for purchase before and after the lecture.

Foster has taught composition and literature in East L.A. schools and universities for 20 years, and has taught at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, where he received his MFA, and at the California Institute for the Arts. He is currently a visiting assistant professor of creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. 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.”

The lecture series honors former CSU Dominguez Hills professor of English Patricia Eliet, who taught at the university from 1969 to 1990.

This year’s lecture is sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities, the Department of English, Associated Students Incorporated, and through a grant from the 50th Anniversary Golden Toro Program.

For more information about the lecture, email or call (310) 243-3322.

April 2011