John Shoptaw; alkali sinks as toxic depressions

The Northern Californa Book Awards ceremony on May 15 was essentially a delightful family outing featuring 2% poetry and 98% military-grade shopping. My sister Dena and daughter Demi accompanied me to cheer me on. Mostly, however, they tolerated the 2 hours in the Koret Auditorium so that we might spend our time doing what they really wanted to do: shop at Macy's. Nothing like family to remind me that I and my poetry are merely stepping stones on the path of capitalist indulgence.  

One of the many surprises was seeing the PowerPoint that announced my nomination: the commentator's assertion that the alkali sink of my title was more like a toxic depression was an astoundingly strong comment on the overall tone and setting of much of the work in my book. They get me. 

The other surprise was, of course, how fucking LOW the stalls are at the SF Public Library. (Hello; I SEE YOU.) 

So I didn't win the award (Cal professor and ecopoet extraordinaire John Shoptaw did) , but I was utterly & nerdishly gaga that my sweet little Alkali Sink shared the same stage as books by Gary Snyder, Juan Felipe Herrera, Ellery Aker, and Joshua Clover. Those people are serious, big poets. I am a woman from Modesto. Thank you, wonderful dark unknowable chasm of universe, for this delight.