The works of García Lorca, internationally recognized as Spain's most prominent lyric poet and dramatist of the twentieth century, are filled with thinly veiled homosexual motifs and themes.
There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.
Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
The African-American gay male literary tradition consists of a substantial body of texts and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.
Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.
Langston Hughes, whose literary legacy is enormous and varied, was closeted, but homosexuality was an important influence on his literary imagination, and many of his poems may be read as gay texts.
James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.
Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.
John Ashbery. Photograph by David Shankbone (CC BY 3.0).
In accepting the award, Ashbery spoke of the joys of writing poetry, which, he said, "gives me a pleasure I can almost taste." He added, "It is fun, though it isn't supposed to be. But somehow the difficulty is embedded in the pleasure."
Ashbery, who was born in 1929, is widely considered among the finest living American poets. Although he generally avoids explict gay content in his poems, his work is often marked by his experience as a gay man, especially in its ironic perspective, its evocation of camp, and its persistent exploration of the nature of identity.
Other winners of awards presented at the celebratory evening hosted by actor and author John Lithgow were Jesmyn Ward, who won the National Book Award for fiction for Salvage the Bones, and Steven Greenblatt, who won the National Book Award for nonfiction for The Swerve: How the World Became Modern.
In addition, Nikky Finney won the award for poetry for Head Off & Split, while Thanhha Lai received the award for young people's literature for Inside Out and Back Again.
The category of young people's literature produced drama this year when Lauren Myracle was named to the original shortlist in that category for her book Shine, a novel about the experience of a gay teenager who is the victim of a hate crime.
Shortly afterward, however, the National Book Foundation announced that Myracle's book was included on the list by mistake. The Foundation said that it would stay on the shortlist anyway, but added a sixth book, Chime by Franny Billingsley, which had originally been intended to be a finalist.
Soon after that announcement, the Foundation reversed itself, asking Myracle to withdraw from consideration.
Myracle did so, but clearly felt that she had been treated unfairly. Although she agreed to withdraw, she requested that the National Book Foundation make a contribution to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which advocates for gay youth. Reportedly, the National Book Foundation will donate $5,000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation.