Looking For And At The PEN New England Lyrics Award Medal
Following an unrequited internet search for a closeup image of that medal Salman Rushdie and Paul Simon, as authorized agents of PEN New England, slung around the necks of Leonard Cohen and Chuck Berry, respectively, to designate them the recipients of the Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award, I emailed Karen Wulf, Director of PEN New England, who graciously sent me the photo of the medal displayed below, which is, as far as I can determine, the only such image available online at this point.
So, if you spy someone this season wearing this particular specimen of bling, you are fortunate enough to have set eyes upon either Leonard Cohen or Chuck Berry, who picked up this jewelry as the first winners of the PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award at the Kennedy Library ceremony on February 26, 2012.1
The New & Improved PEN New England Lyrics Award Medal
Now, I grasp the notion of simple elegance, and a gold medal is a gold medal. Yet, I cannot help thinking that the medal might benefit from a tad of adornment and, given that the award is sponsored by an organization of “poets, playwrights, essayists, editors, and novelists” and that the award is for writing “lyrics of Literary Excellence” [emphasis mine], the medal might do with a word or two of text.
On reading this observation, few ongoing viewers familiar with my previous projects to revise and enhance Leonard Cohen’s lyrics, concerts, ad campaigns, and merchandise, including the Leonard Cohen Bobble Head Doll and the Heart With A Companion T-shirt (which features the familiar Unified Heart logo attached to its own Cohentronics pacemaker – shown below), will be surprised to learn that Heck Of A Guy plans to offer to PEN New England – at no charge – a New & Improved version of their Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award medal.
- This identification paradigm assumes, of course, that the medal that comes into your vision was not purloined and that neither Cohen or Barry, both of whom have endured near-catastrophic fiscal straits in the past, have again come upon hard times and hocked the award. [↩]