Tag Archives: Lambda Literary Award

Updates/Lambda Literary Award

What a year it has been. And, none of it would have happened, if I continued to listened to the voice of doubt. Self-doubt and pessimism plague me on a consistent basis. However, after I published my novel, a number of miracles happened. I was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Debut Fiction. I had the opportunity to read at the Carl Bean House, the West Hollywood Library (with other Lambda finalists), and the Playa Vista Library. My crowning achievement was winning the Lambda at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York on June 6th.

The awards celebrated excellence in LGBT literature and 28 years of groundbreaking literary achievement. Back in March, when the finalists were announced the Lambda Literary Foundation revealed that over 933 submissions were received from major publishing houses, independent presses, and on-demand services from around the world.

The recognition has given the book greater visibility and presence. I will be forever grateful to the Lambda Literary Foundation for that.

The book can be purchased at Amazon or CreateSpace or Kindle or Barnes and Noble.

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Excerpt from A Love Like Blood

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If you enjoyed this excerpt, then you will love the book. You can purchase “A Love Like Blood” at any of the links below.

Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Like-Blood-Victor-Yates/dp/0692553312/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447353518&sr=1-1

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Like-Blood-Victor-Yates/dp/0692553312/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447353518&sr=1-1

If you have Kindle Unlimited the book is free.

Create Space: https://www.createspace.com/5793911

Use the code XBFGEU69 to receive $10 off.

 

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Essex Hemphill: Brother From Another Planet

The first time I heard Essex Hemphill‘s name was in the documentary Black Is… Black Ain’t by Marlon Riggs. His poetry was interwoven into the documentary beautifully. Hemphill began writing at age 14 and studied English at the University of the District of Columbia.

Not only was Hemphill a poet but also an activist for equality and gay rights. In 1980 Hemphill outed himself during “a poetry reading at the Founders Library at Howard University. From the mid-1980s until his death, Hemphill became perhaps the most well-known Black gay male writer in the United States since James Baldwin,” according to Dr. Wilfred D. Samuels, General Editor of A Gift of Story/Encyclopedia of African-American Literature.

Watch When My Brother Fell Performed by a D.C. Native

Hemphill “first gained national attention when his work appeared in the anthology In the Life (1986), a seminal collection of writings by black gay men. In 1989, his poems were featured in the award-winning documentaries Tongues Untied and Looking for Langston.” In 1990 Hemphill finished compiling Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men, started by Joseph Beam. Beam died to AIDS-related complications in 1988. Brother to Brother won a Lambda Literary Award. Hemphill later published Ceremonies: Prose and Poetry (Plume/New American Library), which was awarded the National Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual New Author Award in 1993.

Hemphill’s poetry is in the new anthology, Persistent Voices: Poetry by Writers Lost to AIDSPoetry Anthologies), edited David Groff and Philip Clark (Alyson Books). Their have been readings from the anthology in San Francisco, D.C., and New York. Other poets anthologized in Persistent Voices are: Melvin Dixon, Chasen Gaver, Jim Everhard, Tim Dlugos, Reinaldo Arenas, Tory Dent, James Merrill, Paul Monette, and Joe Brainard.

“Persistent Voices is more than a catalogue of strong poetry by poets who were equally strong (in many ways),” Bryan Borland, an Amazon reviewer wrote. “Persistent Voices reminds us of the importance of poetry, of its place in society and of how it creates a degree of immortality. It teaches us, again, of how, with pen and paper, the truly persistent voices of these men and woman continue to be heard, to change lives, and to touch souls.”

Hemphill’s poetry is immortal. His poems have appeared in Essence, Black Scholar, Callaloo, Obsidian, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Advocate, and numerous other journals. His poems Dear Muthafuckin Dreams, Where Seed Falls, and American Wedding are in the anthology. In American Wedding Hemphill says:

They don’t know
we are becoming powerful.
Every time we kiss
we confirm the new world coming.

A powerful statement.

Watch Justin Vivian Bond Performing American Wedding

At an event titled Take Care of Your Blessings curated by Black Gay & Lesbian Archive Project, rare and unpublished manuscripts of Hemphill’s were featured. “Hemphill left three projects uncompleted: Standing in the Gap, a novel in which a mother challenges a preacher’s condemnation of her gay son who is suffering from AIDS; Bedside Companions, a collection of short stories by black gay men; and The Evidence of Being, narratives of older black gay men, which he had been working on since the early 90s in order to satisfy his curiosity about cultural and social history before the term “gay” entered popular usage.” Hemphill died in 1995 to AIDS-related complications.

One of my favorite Hemphill poems is The Father, Son and Unholy Ghosts. Read The Father, Son and Unholy Ghosts below and watch two YouTube performances of Hemphill’s work.

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black lgbt artsy event: atlanta: 6/23 – 6/25: atlanta queer literary festival @ mulitple locations in atlanta and decatur

The premiere LGBT literary Festival in Atlanta, The Atlanta Queer Literary Festival (AQLF), showcasing LGBT authors, novelists, playwrights, and poets will take place June 23-25 in Atlanta and Decatur. Keynote speakers are Sibling Rivalry Press founder Bryan Borland and Women of the World Poetry Slam champion Theresa Davis. There will be readings, poetry slams, workshops, signings, and theater events.

Blogger and AQLF board member Cleo Creech stated the board is “returning AQLF back to it’s Stonewall roots.”

Go to their website for a schedule of events.

Last year Antron Reshaud, black gay poet and author of Bohemian Rebel: Naked and Exposed. Vol 1 and The Rising Vol 2., performed last year during AQLF’s opening night event at Charis Books with Karen Head, Alice Teeter, Timothy Wright, Bailey Lynn, Maudelle Driskell and Mose Hardin. Antron premiered his One Man Show: SIXLIVESINFORTYPOEMS.

Linton Kwesi Johnson on stage reading from a book

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Other black LGBT authors included Charles Stephens, Reginald T. Jackson, Ifa Bumi, and Blair (D. Blair). “Charles Stephens has been an advocate and enthusiast of black queer literature and culture since he read James Baldwin’s Just Above My Head when he was a precocious 12-year old. He also co-organized “Phyre” a celebration of black queer history and culture. His writing has appeared in the Gay and Lesbian Review, the monographs Think Again and If We Have to Take Tomorrow and Alternet.”

Reginald T. Jackson‘s new book of poetry, This Morning I Woke Black: The Barack Obama Poems, on Outskirts Press, “was named a National Shakespeare Pioneer for his adaptation of King Lear as a Black Drag Queen dying of AIDS: House of Lear. He also received a NYC Mayor’s Citation and an Arts and Cultural Foundation Award for his work in Arts-In-Education. His literary works have appeared in the anthology Brother To Brother, the anthology Flesh and The Word 2, BlackOut Magazine, the anthology Sojourner, BGM Magazine, OUTWEEK Magazine, American Writing Magazine, The Pyramid Poetry Periodical,He has completed two novels entitled: Love Sickness and My Homeboy Love.” Check out Reginald’s interview with DJ Baker on the Da Doo Dirty Show discussing the inspiration for “This Morning I Woke Black” and living with HIV.

Ifa Bumi is a poet, spoken word artist, and songwriter. Her spoken word album, Musoetry, was released in 2009 and received critical acclaim.

Blair (D. Blair), 2010 Callaloo Fellow, is an “award winning Detroit-based poet and singer-songwriter, a 2010 Callaloo Poetry Fellow and a National Poetry Slam Champion. He is the author of Moonwalking, published by Penmanship Books. The recipient of Seattle WA’s Bent Mentor Award, he is also a Def Poetry Jam Poet who’s performed on bills with Stevie Wonder, Wilco, Oscar Winner Michael Moore, Bitch and Animal and others. He teaches poetry and music classes in Detroit Public Schools, Hannan House Senior Center, the YMCA and lectures at universities, colleges and high schools across the country.” Blair is performing in Chicago on 4/23 at Scarab Club with Jamaal May and in New York on 5/7-5/8 at the Nuyorican Poetry Cafe.

Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director of International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission gave the first keynote address at the Auburn Avenue Research Library. Cary previously had been IGLHRC’s Senior Africa Specialist, a position he held for four years, and managed the organization’s office in Cape Town, South Africa. Lambda Award finalist Ana Bozicevic gave the second keynote address.

Last year’s panels included: journalism, African-American writers and social media. This year should be even better.

I hope to make this a stop on my book tour. Fingers crossed.

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