At the Lambda Literary Awards tonight, three hundred very hot people packed into a steamy reception room downstairs at the CUNY Grad Center, and then moved into the auditorium. Occasions of delight: Judy Grahn winning for lesbian poetry, becoming visible again after decades of work, often publishing with the tiniest of presses; Scott Heim accepting his award for his novel from a happy Dennis Cooper. And best of all for me, sharing the stage with James Hall, with whom I tied for the prize for gay men's poetry. It just felt so sweet to share the stage with James, whose work and person I love and admire, and to feel his delight in having a first book seen in this way. Yes! At the podium, I said that I wished I could saw my trophy into five parts,
since it was an honor to be on a list of books like this, a list where I loved every single volume. Lucky to be writing at a time when that is possible.
After sitting for two and a half hours, I was happy to join the line in the men's room (where Michelangelo Signorile was two guys in front of me, looking dashing). I set my trophy -- an engraved piece of glass in the form of a book -- and my program down on a convenient shelf, and when I came back from washing my hands I picked it up and whoosh, my trophy slid onto the hard washroom floor, and several wicked-looking chunks of it broke loose. The line gasped. I felt mortally embarassed, and said something like, Oh, easy come, easy go, which probably wasn't the right thing to say in that particular company. Oh well. Then I said, well now my award has more character, and when I got it home and saw it in the light this turned out to be true. Before it was a trophy, now it has a kind of chipped and dented handsomeness to it, which of course is the kind of handsome I like best.
(Also in the house: Jericho Brown, Tiphanie Yanique, Alice Quinn, Jill Bialosky, Donna Masini, Ed White, Scott Heim, Michael Lowenthal, Eddy Sarfaty, Andrew Holleran, Furry Wayne, Tom Healy, Honor Moore, Thomas Glave, tout le monde.)
UPDATE: At BEA today I ran into the handsome and dashing mystery writer Scott Sherman, also a Lammy winner. "All that excitement last night," he said, "and what's everybody talking about but that you dropped your Lammy."
UPDATE #2: Some comments seem to have disappeared into the electronic ether somehow. If yours is one of those, apologies, please try again!