3.08.2015

The Writing Life 8

What short story writers inspire you? I could list many but one of my favorites would be
W. Somerset Maugham. I hope to re-read his brilliant stories and travel essays this year.



 "It has been argued that in the short story he reached the pinnacle of his art. These expertly told tales, with their addictive plot twists and vividly drawn characters, are both galvanizing as literature and wonderfully entertaining. In the adventures of his alter ego Ashenden, a writer who (like Maugham himself) turned secret agent in World War I, as well as in stories set in such far-flung locales as South Pacific islands and colonial outposts in Southeast Asia, Maugham brings his characters vividly to life, and their humanity is more convincing for the author’s merciless exposure of their flaws and failures. Whether the chasms of misunderstanding he plumbs are those between colonizers and natives, between a missionary and a prostitute, or between a poetry-writing woman and her uncomprehending husband, Maugham brilliantly displays his irony, his wit, and his genius in the art of storytelling."

3.04.2015

Spring Update


 

Spring is on the way after a seemingly endless Michigan winter! Five years ago I begin The Literary Party blog to promote my Literary Party debut and have accumulated a sizeable collection of poetry, literary posts as well as various LGBT / Amish / LGBT Amish content. A heartfelt thank you to my readers, book reviewers, fellow poets / writers for your support!
 
 
Looking back over five years of posts I realize this has certainly been a productive period for me. Since 2011 my poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies, chapbooks and I even found time for several open-mic readings, essays and a short story. Currently I am writing poems exploring the queer Amish identity and hope to have enough material for a Writing Knights collection later this year. (stay tuned).
 
 
I was recently honored to receive a shout out from my East / West Symphony muse, the brilliant artist Tareq Sayed Rajab de Montfort! Thank you!
 

East / West Symphony appears in the recent Writing Knights Press Page-A-Day Poetry Anthology, along with five other new poems. You can purchase a copy via Amazon.

Lastly, my villanelle Northern Skies has been included in the new 2014 Poetry Anthology from Writing Knights Press! 

2.17.2015

2.06.2015

The Writing Life 7


I'm spending all of my free time this winter writing new poetry, stay tuned!

ICYMI: Amish Road Trip (short story) JONATHAN: A JOURNAL OF QUEER MALE FICTION

1.20.2015

Project Gutenberg: "The Literary Party"

I am pleased to re-release THE LITERARY PARTY: GROWING UP GAY AND AMISH IN AMERICA as a free eBook via PROJECT GUTENBERG!

1.16.2015

1.15.2015

BOOK EXCERPT: "Page-A-Day Poetry Anthology 2015"


 Sacred Geometry
East / West Symphony 
New Martyrs
Journal Fragment - with photo
Sleeping with Keats
All of his Heart (sonnet)

by James Schwartz

Poets from all over the world (United States, United Kingdom, India, Canada and more) have collaborated to bring the first ever Writing Knights Press Page-A-Day Poetry Anthology. Herein are 365 written and visual depictions of life created by over 40 artists spanning 12 months. These pieces are intended for you to read, absorb, contemplate and share with others.

 This is a perfect addition to your coffee table for morning inspiration or your bedside table to give you something to philosophize in your dreams.




NEW WRITING KNIGHTS POETRY

1.12.2015

#JeSuisCharlie

A good feeling knowing that my name was among those Avaaz carried in the Paris Unity Rally Sunday. Proud of my French heritage! Vive la France!

12.26.2014

Happy New Year!


 ... a few days early. Thank you to my readers for your encouragement, supporting indie poetry and of course LGBT Amish! 2014 was a great year, I am looking ahead to 2015. I have a forthcoming interview via WRITING KNIGHTS, a poem in Writing Knights' Best of 2014 anthology (scheduled for January) and am working on new poetry.
 Let's make 2015 the best year yet!

12.19.2014

2 Poems for Christmas

Happy Holidays to my readers! A two poem ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE book excerpt (Amish Christmas Tree, Coffee Soup) has been published via THE GOOD MEN PROJECT!


12.17.2014

2014 Recap


 December is that time we reflect on the closing year and 2014 was a busy one. This year I branched out with Berlin magazine Sensa Nostra, hit the Fire! stage, published several essays, poetry in several Writing Knights Press' releases and a short story in JONATHAN!

Next year I will have a poem in the Best of 2014 Writing Knights Press anthology and am working on new poetry for a future Writing Knights chapbook. A look back...

14 Highlights of 2014:

#NOSOCHI CAMPAIGN Standing up against Russian LGBT Violence

 GAY AND AMISH IN AMERICA #ARTFORFREEDOM

Supporting LGBT Amish with (Miss Kalamazoo Pride 2014) LaDonna Divine at Michigan Pride. PHOTOS 

A collection of topical and travel poetry: ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE (Writing Knights Press). Read book excerpts via DIVERSITY RULES MAGAZINE, PIECEJOURNAL and  RFD MAGAZINE 40th Anniversary issue.

“On the road and on the prowl, James Schwartz delivers an explosive manifesto of personal liberation and revolution, from the Amish communities of Michigan to Putin’s bloody regime in Russia.”Walter Beck

It was great to get a shout out in author Lee Lynch's AMAZON TRAIL column!

BEST OF BOOKS BY THE BED 2 anthology includes my guest post for We Wanted To Be Writers.com.

HARDWOOD: MY PIONEER UPBRINGING AND QUEERING THE OLD ORDER Autobiographical essay via THE GOOD MEN PROJECT. A rather long endeavor with special thanks to BIG TRUTHS for early-draft encouragement.

SENSA NOSTRA: THE AMISH CLOSET: GROWING UP GAY IN A CLOSED COMMUNITY 


JONATHAN: A JOURNAL OF QUEER MALE FICTION Amish Road Trip short story.  

Closing out the year with six new poems in this must have anthology.

Lastly, thank you readers for keeping up with The Literary Party blog (over 50,000 visitors, headed towards 100,000!) and all your messages on social media. Here's to 2015!

12.14.2014

FourPlay #18 - #19: Poetry 4 Food III - Food Drive FourPlay

Released November 22nd, the double Food Drive FourPlay #18 & #19: Poetry 4 Food 3 (via Writing Knights Press) includes my poem A Drop of Water, a response to the Detroit water shut-offs. NOW AVAILABLE!

ALSO AVAILABLE: PAGE-A-DAY POETRY ANTHOLOGY 2015 WRITING KNIGHTS

12.01.2014

James Baldwin

It's not a literary party without James Baldwin, one of my all time favorite writers who passed away on this day in 1987. Read James Baldwin!


BRAIN PICKINGS: James Baldwin on the Creative Process and the Artist's Responsibility to Society

BuzzFeed: 25 Powerful Quotes 

11.28.2014

New Writing Knights Poetry

I have new poetry included in the fine Writing Knights Press anthology, The Squire: Page-A-Day Poetry Anthology 2015 NOW AVAILABLE! 

Poets from all over the world  (United States, United Kingdom, India, Canada and more) have collaborated to bring the first ever Writing Knights Press Page-A-Day Poetry Anthology.
Herein are 365 written and visual depictions of life created by over 40 artists spanning 12 months. These pieces are intended for you to read, absorb, contemplate and share with others.


By James Schwartz: Sacred Geometry, East / West Symphony, New Martyrs, Journal Fragment with photo, Sleeping with Keats and All of His Heart (sonnet).

ALSO AVAILABLE: ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE 

11.25.2014

The Writing Life 6

Have you seen Ursula K. Le Guin's National Book Awards speech yet? This week on social media poets and writers were discussing little else!

11.24.2014

Jonathan 07: "Amish Road Trip"

My new short story Amish Road Trip will be published December 18th in JONATHAN: A Journal of Queer Male Fiction Issue 07 now available for pre-order via SIBLING RIVALRY PRESS!


Features stories by  Mitch Kellaway, Wayne Courtois-Seligman, Jorge Cino, Robert Siek, James Schwartz, Tom Hardin, Jae Christopher, Wes Funk, Reginald T. Jackson, Jerry L. Wheeler, Patrick Pink, and Gregory Gerard. Edited by Raymond Luczak.

11.21.2014

Middle East Meets West

Inspired by seeing Amish meeting Arabs here in Michigan (home to both communities) I wrote a short prose piece published via @7x20: a journal of twitter literature! RT!


RERUN:

11.12.2014

The Writing Life 5


Are you participating in #NaNoWriMo? November is National Novel Writing Month, normally a month I hibernate and write poetry. This November I'm working on a new essay, capping off a rather productive year. The Literary Party blog has been updated with several older posts (deleted, oops) archived to make room for new posts next year (blogging is horribly time consuming so expect a lull).
I would like to thank the many readers who follow this blog and my social media channels (also time consuming) and promise to put more of an effort into both. This month however is reserved mainly for writing.
I continue to field offers for Amish themed reality shows and documentaries and have (so far) said no to everything to the dismay of all my friends. Reality check: I'm a writer.
 My poetry took a backseat to essay-writing and a short story this year but poetry is a jealous mistress, I hope to bring out a new collection next year! Stay tuned for updates!

"Best of Books by the Bed 2"


BEST OF BOOKS BY THE BED 2 NOW AVAILABLE!

BEDTIME READING (Book review)

11.11.2014

Harold Bloom


I love reading Harold Bloom, I learn so much from him. Having recently delved into Genius again rekindled my enthusiasm for literature.

Open Culture: Harold Bloom

11.05.2014

Being Gay (Today)


Being gay and ex Amish means being told to leave the farm.
Being gay and ex Amish means you are unwanted.
Being gay and ex Amish means going hungry.
Being gay and ex Amish means living wherever you can.
Being gay and ex Amish means ostracism.
Being gay and ex Amish means holidays alone.
Being gay and ex Amish means being told you are damned.
Being gay and ex Amish means being judged and found Less Than.
Being gay and ex Amish means your relationships are mocked.
Being gay and ex Amish means considering suicide.
Being gay and ex Amish means sleeping in your car.
Being gay and ex Amish means being shunned.
Being gay and ex Amish means being martyred.
Being gay and ex Amish today means survival.
Being gay and ex Amish means a lot.

Being gay and ex Amish means the world is new again. 

Please support LGBT Amish! www.LGBTAmish.com

11.02.2014

The Writing Life 4

 
 2014 has been a productive year with the publication of ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE and essays via THE GOOD MEN PROJECT, RFD MAGAZINE 40th Anniversary issue (now online!) and BEST OF BOOKS BY THE BED 2 anthology. I am honored my new short story Amish Road Trip (my first since Gaymish from THE LITERARY PARTY) is forthcoming in a future issue of JONATHAN: A Journal of Gay Fiction!

Do you have a favorite time of year to write? Autumn seems to be my most fruitful season, yes I'm writing (currently new poetry and another essay)! Expect a lull in blogging but will post updates when I can!

10.02.2014

Happy #NationalPoetryDay!


It's #NationalPoetryDay across the pond but poets and poetry readers are celebrating everywhere today. Above is an interesting TED Talk by Stephen Burt. 

9.26.2014

"Literary Party" Update

The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America (inGroup Press, 2011) is now re-published and available in the Kindle store, debuting top ten on the Gay Poetry Bestsellers list and charting at #1 today! Cheers! You can order your copy here.

9.05.2014

The Writing Life 3


  “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville 
 
I enjoy reading writing prompts on lit blogs and they can be helpful: What historical figure inspires you? That's a good prompt! Michigan history is muse for my new topical POETRY24 short on the current Detroit water crisis, A DROP OF WATER, which references French political thinker ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE. Read about his Michigan travels here.

ICYMI: SHUTOFF: DETROIT'S WATER WAR

ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE 

8.31.2014

The Writing Life 2

'10 Books That Stayed With Me'


1. Everything written by Truman Capote but especially his essay and short story collections.

2."Death Comes for the Archbishop" by Willa Cather

3. Short stories - W. Somerset Maugham

4. Complete Oscar Wilde

5. "Genius" by Harold Bloom

6. "Out of Africa" by Isak Dinesen

7. "The Naked Civil Servant" by Quentin Crisp

8. Poetry anthology of John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Byron

9. "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran

10. James Baldwin not sure which books stand out, all of his!

... That is excluding poetry by Hart Crane, Arthur Rimbaud, Cavafy, Elizabeth Bishop, Gertrude Stein, sonnets by William Shakespeare etc.


COMING SOON! Best of Books By the Bed 2

MONROEVILLE WALKING TOUR

8.29.2014

The Writing Life


"The Writing Life" is the first of a series of blog posts dedicated to just that and for the writers and poets that are following this blog. Once you have had a book published your life will change, hopefully for the better. I understand why so many authors like traveling and the animosity of cities. Writers are observers and as Capote famously said "Fame is only good for one thing -- they will cash your check in a small town."

I like small town life in Michigan and by now everyone knows of me or my books. Maybe it's a Michigan thing but despite publicly coming out (which I did years ago but the most important), the provocative poetry, cross-dressing etc. most Michiganders are unfazed. Likely because they are busy working on their own books and art projects. There really are a lot of creative types in the Great Lakes state! Being an author even on the indie LGBT fringes has allowed me to connect with a wide variety of writers, artists in MI. and of course social media.

After I announced my newly single status earlier this year I was both cruised at a local gas station (!) and hit up on FB -- no I'm not on Grindr or any dating site for that matter. The main reason I even have a FB is to keep up with other writers (I prefer Twitter). I rather enjoy the single life and after a 7 year LTR it is probably good for me. I can focus on writing in my free time!

I love reading literary biographies but usually come away wishing the poet or writer had spent more of their life actually writing, especially true in this day and age. I have stated several times in previous posts that it is necessary to unplug now and then and focus on the craft of writing with as little as distraction as possible. It is probably a good idea to let your readers know this beforehand.

I am happy to have five forthcoming projects in the works but this hasn't left much time for a personal life either. My plan is to spend most of next year simply writing and maybe go on a date or two ha ha -- every poet needs a muse.
I will update The Literary Party blog when I can, there is more to come!

8.24.2014

8.07.2014

"Arrival and Departure"


 ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE (Writing Knights Press) collects my poetry 2011 - 2014 and new travel themed work. Occupy protests, Euromaidan, the Middle East conflict: these poems are drawn from global headlines, the Beat poets and my Amish heritage.
Includes selections from FOURPLAY #12 ALPINE SUITE and FOURPLAY #14: POETRY 4 FOOD 2.

EXCERPT #1:  4 AM STORY

EXCERPT #2: COFFEE SOUP 

2 POEM EXCERPT: DIVERSITY RULES MAGAZINE

“On the road and on the prowl, James Schwartz delivers an explosive manifesto of personal liberation and revolution, from the Amish communities of Michigan to Putin’s bloody regime in Russia.” – Walter Beck, poet / freelance journalist

8.05.2014

LGBT Amish @ MI. Pride!

This year will be Michigan history in the making, marking the first time LGBT Amish will be supported at a Pride event by our own Miss Kalamazoo Pride LaDonna Divine! We are sending a strong message that no one will be left behind! #MichiganPride


7.24.2014

Why Topical Poetry Matters

Wars. Revolutions. Global Conflicts. Why I'm Writing Topical Poetry.


I have a new book of poetry out so allow me an obligatory paragraph book plug: Arrival and Departure (Writing Knights Press) is a travel themed poetry chap written 2011-2014 collecting my topical poetry from Poetry24, The New Verse News, Politiku and Nostrovia! Poetry.


Topical poetry includes global dispatches from Euromaidan, the Middle East to America’s Amish heartland and Occupy Wall Street. In this 24 hour news cycle of wars, revolutions and constant conflicts, poets today are writing about current events, like Poetry24 “Where News is the Muse.”

Poetry24 has been reaching around the world to readers and writers of poetry, spreading worthy news stories to everyone. The unique poetry blog publishes news-related poems with a link to the story that inspired them. Since its inception, the blog has published poems from a dozen countries on everything from the Arab Spring to Zanesville Zoo. It crosses borders too – with a Puerto Rican poet writing about Fukushima, a Netherlands-based poet writing about Libya, and a Canadian poet writing about the face of Kate Middleton being found in a jelly bean. Local stories have featured too, like cheese-rolling and a local café being forced to change its name.

The New Verse News presents politically progressive poetry on current events and topical issues.

Politiku Trending Political Topics in 17 Syllable Observations.


Books & Shovels is a nonprofit traveling bookstore and publisher. We distribute street books, chapbooks, paintings, graffiti, cds, records, zines, anything that exhibits passion and creativity. We are Passion Activists that believe living is more valuable than just making a living. We mesh grass roots promotions, such as street performing, street art, and D.I.Y. open mics, with opportunities of the 21st century; blogging, internet poetry, and ezines. Backing this project will help broaden the artistic community, promote passionate living, and encourage dreaming. This will make a difference in the lives of all people, not just artists.

 It can be easy to feel depleted by the barrage of tragic headlines but filtered through topical poetry offers new and meaningful perspectives.