Eladatl: A History of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines


Product Details

$17.95  $16.69
City Lights Books
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.4 X 1.0 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author

Sesshu Foster taught composition and literature in East L.A. for over 20 years, and at the University of Iowa, the California Institute for the Arts, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. His work is 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. His most recent novel is Eladatl: A History of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines with Arturo Ernesto Romo, published by City Lights. His previous books include the novel Atomik Aztex and the poetry collection World Ball Notebook, both with City Lights, as well as City of the Future and City Terrace Field Manual. A celebrated writer, his literary awards are numerous: Sesshu was awarded the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award in Poetry for World Ball Notebook; the Believer Book Award for Atomik Aztex; an American Book Award for Invocation LA: Urban Multicultural Poetry; and finalist for the PEN Center West Poetry Prize, as well as the Paterson Poetry Prize, for City Terrace Field Manual. Sesshu is based in Alhambra, CA.Arturo Ernesto Romo-Santillano was born in Los Angeles, California in 1980. His artwork, mostly collaborative mixed media works but also drawing, has been circulated internationally. Fluency, agency and folly are central themes in his practice; he sees his artwork as a companion multiplier, folding folds, netting nets. His art-making is pushed through explorations on the streets of East and North East Los Angeles, which feed into an ongoing series of collaborations with writer Sesshu Foster. He lives in Alhambra, CA.


"ELADATL is an act of recovery, an updraft of lost memories, as humorous as it is serious. . . . What emerges is an alternative history dancing from the distant past, to the present, with its images derived from popular culture, into the future; in other words, a radical revision of the world, based upon, but no crazier than, the world we presently inhabit."--Woody Haut

"Reader, welcome to ELADATL, a mind-blowing book collaboration between poet and novelist Sesshu Foster and artist Arturo Romo that brings forth a whole other past, present and future within the space-time continuum we (think we) know as Southern California. . . . Unabashedly experimental, ELADATL resists linear narrative at every turn, knocking time out of joint by bringing invisible histories to light and to life, not content to let the past be the past, nor the present be the present."--Janet Sarbanes, Boom California

"In this surrealist mashup constructed out of photographs, drawings, cataloged historical artifacts, and a variety of narratives, Foster and Romo present a detailed history of fictional events in which a coalition of air-travel supporters worked to promote the giant airships of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines and revolutionize society."--Alta Magazine

"Hold this infra-surreal, no-surreal, under-realm account (in gyroscopic fashion and thru various sightings re-dacted and questionable dialogues, voice pepperings) of our fast approaching Kaliyuga."--Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the USA, 2015-2017

"ELADATL is a wild flight of fancy with serious political import. Entirely made up, but also somehow entirely true, this history of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines doesn't just expand horizons, it blows them up. A radical and radically rewarding creation."--Stephen Sparks, Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes Station, CA

"ELADATL is the fictitiously true history of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines told through a myriad of Brown voices. . . . Radicalized chicken farmers, clandestino dirigible pilots for el pueblo, poetas de el universe, dead Chicano lawyers, spanglish graffiti artists and pocho pirate radio broadcasters come together in this unbelievable book to tell the hidden Latinx history of Los Angeles' airspace and landscape. ELADATL is a literary milagro of the deepest kind."--Josiah Luis Alderete, City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, CA

"Climb onboard ELADATL for one wild trip of a read! ELADATL is a fictionalized account of the early days of air travel in LA told through words, art, and photographs. ELADATL has all the makings of a cult classic."--Caitlin Baker, Island Books, Mercer Island

"Like Burroughs's Naked Lunch, the premise of what ELADATL seems to be about in the first 50 pages, explodes into a collage of lists, 'agent reports, ' photographs, notes, and narratives, --all more or less on the topic of the ELADATL from various viewpoints, times, and places. The energy level of the book is high as disparate voices describe eerie, suspenseful scenes, make comedic observations, and recount of historical crimes and atrocities. Recommended: experimental and accessible, briskly paced, with pointed humor throughout."--Tom Bowden, The Book Beat, Westland, MI

"I have never read a book quite like this one. It exceeded every expectation I have developed in the 15-years since Sesshu Foster's previous novel, the Believer Book Award-winning masterpiece Atomik Aztex, was released. ELADATL is a work that is both about the past of Eastern Los Angeles and a novel that is of its future, a metaphor for the lifting up of a people, and also for the crashing and burning of expectations. There are riots, pirate radio stations, militaristic chicken farms, and krakens, but at its heart, this is a novel about class, race, economic struggle and a yearning for transcendence. Along with Sesshu Foster's words and Arturo Romo's masterful artwork, the academia-mocking appendices lend ELADATL a vibe reminiscent of Walter Benjamin by way of Vladimir Nabokov. I cannot wait to turn our customers on to this novel."--Jason Jefferies, Quail Ridge Bookstore, Raleigh, NC

"Sesshu Foster and Arturo Ernesto Romo's ELADATL: A History of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines is a portfolio in prose and pictures that's 100% made up but that I nonetheless believe to be 100% true. It reads like a cross between Yamashita's I Hotel and Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, although saying so does ELADATL a disservice--it stands proudly on its own, a smile on its face and middle finger raised. If I don't see a young bookseller sporting an ELADATL tattoo within the next couple years, I'll be shocked."--James Crossley, Madison Books, Seattle, WA

"This novel not only explores the actual quest for physical elevation, but, more significantly, with the complication of inner elevation, attempting to rise above a circumstance studded with racism and looming financial debacle. Mr. Foster's novel magically inscribes the trenchant character of an opaque and transitional zeitgeist."--Will Alexander, author of Kaleidoscope Omniscience

"Plunge upward into ELADATL's phantasmagoric skies, where Los Angeles outsiders fly pirate dirigibles to legendary cities built of trash. This hip, avant, alternate history wriggles into and out of all ordinariness, transforming oppression into adventure and you, oh fortunate reader, into a witness of the glorious exploits of Swirling Alhambra and his rebel cohort. Get ready to leave the status quo behind and soar beyond the probable to the possible, your brain buoyed by this book's heady mix of fear and joy and outraged delight."--Nisi Shawl, author of Everfair: A Novel

"A fierce, bittersweet, and hilarious antidote to our increasingly deracinated personhoods and neighborhoods, ELADATL: A History of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines inspires us to hold our ground in a here and now that includes futures and pasts we both know and can barely imagine. Set against the absence of Hollywood--that perfect hierarchical structure that occludes most of the actual labor that goes into making the finished product--Sesshu Foster and Arturo Romo take us through the hood and under the hood while celebrating and mourning the intimacy of social life in all its vicissitudes. Along the way, our fearless guides introduce us to the living politics of a particular place whose accumulated experience reverberates throughout the cosmos."--Ammiel Alcalay, Founder and General Editor of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative

"'The strange future of war over Los Angeles, zeppelins versus dirigibles . . . ' Sesshu Foster and Arturo Ernesto Romo capture the uncapturable. 'Experience levitation and death, ' 'attune your cellular vibrations to the frequency of Star Beings, ' 'the merciless winds of the human heart, ' 'the Atmospheric Trash Vortex.' Who is the I here? 'The welcoming hosts at the front door, you want to look inside?' The nightmare does not erase the comedy. 'The CIA behind the million faces, hair and fingernails still growing.' 'Sign your sorrow over . . . they're taking everything; let's give it to them, the sober whisky of Love.' Unforgetable read. 'Isn't someone in charge?'"--Sharon Doubiago, author of My Beard: Memoir Stories

"Sesshu Foster and Arturo Ernesto Romo co-pilot the ELADATL phantasmagoric journey across historic/imagined skies with magnificent views of a post-industrial East Los Angeles wasteland that is dotted with cinematic/cultural phantoms: Raquel Welch, Oscar Zeta Acosta, Anthony Quinn, and Brown Berets who invoke the mantra, 'Don't believe the fake dreams of the secret police.' Human skin, dirigible skin, chorizo skins, are simultaneously celebrated as art while being attacked by Zeppelin gunships. ELADATL lifts the reader into a free intellectual airspace where airships of new thinking reign."--Harry Gamboa Jr., author of Urban Exile: Collected Writings of Harry Gamboa Jr.