August 11th, 2009


Rhysling Award Ceremony

There's so much to say about WorldCon, but I thought I'd briefly mention the Rhysling Award Ceremony. Although it wasn't well attended (we didn't do a good enough job at getting the word out, we were up against Neil Gaiman, and the WorldCon grid listed it as a "Rhysling Award Panel"), it was wonderful to actually be able to present the awards in person.

I began by talking a bit about the Rhysling Awards and the SFPA. Then, Amal (tithenai) read Song for an Ancient City, the 2009 Rhysling Award winner in the Short Poem Category. Afterwards, she talked about about its inspiration and genesis, and the fact she was wearing a gorgeous necklace made by Anita Allen from an ancient coin from Damascus. Then, I presented her Rhysling Award plaque and certificate.

Then, I read Spell by Samantha Henderson (samhenderson), the Short Poem 2nd Place winner. Alas, Samantha refused to allow me to pack her in my suitcase, but I promise to personally present it to her at some opportune moment.

I then read The Future by Billy Collins. Mr. Collins was not present. I will mail his award when I return home.

We then moved to the Long Poem Category, and Geoff (geoffrey_landis) read the 2009 Rhysling Award winner, Search. I then presented the award, but forgot to ask him about his inspiration at that point.


Next I opened the page to Sam's other second place poem and without thinking said, 'Wow, this poem is long." Geoff took the opportunity to remind me that is why it qualified in the long poem category! I thought briefly about reading an excerpt, but then decided why not? So, I read Hungry: Some Ghost Stories in its entirety.

Finally, it was time for Amal (tithenai) and Cat (catvalente) to read their third place winning poem in the long category, Damascus Divides the Lovers by Zero, Or, the City is Never Finished.

Hearing all of these winning poems read by their authors was really special and something I won't forget easily. Afterwards, Amal and Cat talked about their writing process and how the collaboration on the poem worked. I also gave Geoff an opportunity to comment on his poem.

Finally, I presented the certificates to Amal and Cat...

...and the first ever Rhysling Award Ceremony was over.