60 Minutes: Rainbow Railroad

60 Minutes just did a piece on the Rainbow Railroad - Must see! Full video here!

Elam Zook: The 1972 Supreme Court Case Wisconsin v. Yoder

An excellent talk by Elam Zook! For more Amish Heritage Foundation podcasts and videos click here!

"Lovejets" @Amazon!

Happy belated publication day to "Lovejets: Queer Male Poets on 200 Years of Walt Whitman" via Amazon.com!

#Stonewall50 🏳️‍🌈

Aloha from Puna!

In June we will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots (follow the hashtag #Stonewall50 on social media) + the progress we (lgbtqia+) have made so far!

I will have an interview with the New York Times in the June Gay Pride issue! Look for LGBT Amish! 

I was proud to march for LGBT Amish in the 2014 Michigan Pride Parade & continue to speak our truth for those who cannot! #nooneleftbehind 

#MerrieMonarchDasWhy + From Pahoa with Lava 4 πŸŒ‹

I joined The Circle of Sovereigns at the 2019 Merrie Monarch Royal Parade which will be rebroadcast on Nā Leo TV channel + @NaLeoTV app (check your local listings)!

It was a beautiful day for the parade, I was thrilled to aloha, boom shaka the dancers from New Zealand!

Watch highlights below via Big Island Video News. 

Also: The Na Leo TV documentary film "From Pahoa with Lava 4" featuring yours truly reading from PUNATIC is now available online here! Mahalo Laulima Pahoa!

Punatic πŸŒ‹

Via Amazon

Advance Reader Review:

I had the pleasure of reading the ebook of PUNATIC, by James Schwartz, author of THE LITERARY PARTY: GROWING UP GAY AND AMISH IN AMERICA 2011, a Lambda Literary Nominee for Poetry.

James Schwartz "used to be Amish, then he went English now he's Hawaiian (Islander humor)".  

James's journey to Puna is a "mixed-media" collection of poetry with color photos of Pacific Meditations, a live literary mixtape from his readings at venues on the island (even a rainforest!) 

The photos are stunning and quirky: A road through lush tropical foliage. A historical church. A Green Lake lost to lava in the 2018 eruption. A volcano!!  
If the photos are meant to be symbolic than this represents his rebirth: rooting down / rising up. Resurrection / A Punatic Passion. 

Not all poems are set in Hawaii.
Riverside Meditation (taken from Michigan Meditations, Dangerous Submissions anthology) is a startling scene of the Midwest meth epidemic (Schwartz was born in an Amish community in Michigan).
The Apostates, another Michigan Meditation, is a comedic meeting of gay ex-Amish men or Apostates, a satire on Amish tourism and Punatic Part 1 and 2 shows his comedic side and an homage to Mark Twain who famously visited the island.

In the introduction Schwartz writes about his Hawaiian spiritual transformation, citing The Bowl of Light by Hank Wesselman and Kahuna of Light by Moke Kupihea. I plan to read them. His first poem begins at LAX - "Bukowski Country"! LMAOROTF! 

"Punatic" has a comedic tone through much of the book, especially the live material. 
An exception is the show-stopping long duet poem, Gaia, flowing between Schwartz and Puna slam performer Seth Speaks (YouTube/KukuAuStudio)  showcasing both unique talents beautifully. Under A Strange Occupation heralds the Hawaiian sovereignty movement, The Children of Sirius highlighting climate change. 

Puna is on the Big Island, home to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and an artsy boho fringe: here he has found his spiritual tribe. Think Nahko & Medicine for the People. Schwartz's poetic path from Amish to Aloha makes for a happy ending - almost! The end comes as a shock but I won't give away his surprise twist ending here! 

My favorite poem may be the Hawaiian flavored love-song-poem Kapu. Schwartz takes the native Hawaiian man for his Adonis-David- Muse, in Pacific Meditation writes "piercing my heart with his shark-smile". Hawaiian culture is more accepting to LGBT than the Amish communities are which gives him the freedom to bare his heart in Ghost At the Coast and Kapu. These are his Sacred Meditations, A Lord Byron in Exile, sitting at the Kahuna's knee. 

James Schwartz is a welcome poet I have read over the years in QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology and Our Happy Hours, LGBT VOICES FROM THE GAY BARS. I have added Lovejets: Queer Male Poets on 200 Years of Walt Whitman, his other book release to my reading list!

I love this book, in the back of my mind I was calculating frequent flyer miles! I have never considered a volcano romantic but Schwartz clearly does in Kalapana Meditation, an adventurous trek to a lava flow - Pele the Volcano Goddess herself! and in the Introduction, Going With The Flow. 

James Schwartz conjures Whitman, the Beats, Mark Twain, indigenous Pacific spirituality, Hawaiian "Punatic" politics with humor, heart and a rebel refrain. 
Here is a poet inspired by a new land and culture and I was too. 
Noted for his book "The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America" 
James Schwartz has written another book of culture shock: when Amish meets Aloha. 


Since moving to the Aloha State two years ago it has come to my attention that Hawaii is, in fact, not a state but a sovereign Kingdom that was overthrown by the US government in a coup. The US has also broken its treaties with the Kingdom of Hawaii which is currently under 'a strange occupation'. (More information on the Hawaiian sovereignty movement can be found here and here

As a descendent of Swiss immigrants (Switzerland did honor its treaty with the Kingdom) I can not in good conscious reside here on the island and contribute to the mythology of legal Hawaii statehood. 

Therefore, on April 7, 2019, I was humbled to sign the Pledge and Oath of Allegiance to the sovereign Kingdom of Hawaii at Uncle Robert's Awa Bar in Kalapana. It is the right thing to do. 

I did so in the Aloha spirit and aloha-heart. I ask all of my ohana, friends (here and on the mainland) and readers to bear witness. Aloha! 

Photo via Punatic (Writing Knights Press)

Circle of Sovereigns recognizes the ongoing and lawful status of the Hawaiian Kingdom, a natural law based constitutional monarchy. We are a leading force in the peaceful restoration of our national sovereignty and self-governance. We invite all Hawaiian Kingdom ohanas (families), Lahui (Hawaiian National) organizations, and friends to contact us for education, advocacy, and legal support.
We advocate and operate under the three main principles of Natural Law :

Save the Date PA! "Our Happy Hours" Reading! 🏳️‍🌈

Save the Date! 

We've just received an invitation to have an event celebrating Our Happy Hours: LGBT Voices from the Gay Bars . The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, PA is hosting an evening of readings during Allentown's annual Pride Celebration.

The date: August 8, 2019
The time: 6:00 - 8:00 P.M.
The place: The Bradbury-Sullivan Center
                 522 West Maple Street
                 Allentown, PA 18101 

From Pahoa with La❤a + Lovejets πŸŒ‹

I am celebrating Walt Whitman and my 2 year anniversary in Puna! You can catch me in the Nā Leo TV documentary film FROM PAHOA WITH LA❤A 4πŸŒ‹ premiering in May on Nā Leo TV (check local listings) + the @NaLeoTV app + Facebook & YouTube platforms!

(Squares & Rebels Press)

Where the heck have you been, Walt Whitman?

Walt Whitman, author of Leaves of Grass, was born in 1819. The Stonewall riots happened 150 years later. On the bicentennial of Whitman’s birth and the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, over 80 poets pay homage to not only Walt Whitman, but also to queer poets and queer poetry and the vast and various events, revolutions public and private, that have shaken our world since 1819: who we are, where we are, where we have been, and where we might be going in the 21st century.

“This wide and impressive range of poetry echoing the spirit of Walt Whitman and his literary forebears demonstrates the essential embrace of community that we’ve always needed to feel whole with ourselves and among others, especially now during these tumultuous times. Celebrating what had to be largely hidden from view during Whitman’s day, the living queer male poets who grace the pages trumpet a glorious and unforgettable spectacle of passion and compassion.” —Richard Blanco, Presidential Inaugural Poet

Featured poets include Shane Allison, Jeffrey Angles (translator), M. J. Arcangelini, Geer Austin, Stuart Barnes, David J. Bauman, Jeffery Beam, Gary Boelhower, Charlie Bondhus, Bryan Borland, Jericho Brown, A. J. Chilson, Philip F. Clark, Jeffery Conway, Alfred Corn, David Cummer, Gavin Geoffrey Dillard, Patrick Donnelly, Arthur Durkee, Jim Elledge, Jack Fritscher, Keith Garebian, Alex Gildzen, Robert L. Giron, David Groff, Nicholas Alexander Hayes, Trebor Healey, Greg Hewett, Scott Hightower, Walter Holland, Andrew Howdle, Michael Hyde, George K. Ilsley, Curran Jeffery, Jee Leong Koh, Michael Lassell, Travis Chi Wing Lau, Daniel W.K. Lee, Timothy Liu, Chip Livingston, Raymond Luczak, Jeff Mann, Jaime Manrique, Herbert Woodward Martin, Marcos L. MartΓ­nez, Dermot Meagher, Jory Mickelson, Stephen S. Mills, Michael Kiesow Moore, SP Mulroy, Chael Needle, Eric Thomas Norris, Margaret Sayers Peden (translator), James Penha, Seth Pennington, Felice Picano, Martin Pousson, Christopher Records, William Reichard, Dennis Rhodes, Rocco Russo, Roberto F. Santiago, Gerard Sarnat, James Schwartz, P. C. Searce, Davis G. See, Gregg Shapiro, Ben Shields, Allen Smith, Michael D. Snediker, Frederick Speers, Malcolm Stuhlmiller, Mutsuo Takahashi, Atsusuke Tanaka, Guy Terrell, Ulysses Tetu, John Whittier Treat, David Trinidad, Mark Ward, Edmund White, Walt Whitman (of course!), Scott Wiggerman, Jim Wise, Cyril Wong, and Ian Young.

Spring Update + 2020 Endorsement 🌱

Happy Spring!.....  Poetry is in the air! 🌱

* ICYMI, VIDEO of my #PopUpPoetryReading at La Hiki Ola kava bar in Pāhoa 3.18 is on The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America Facebook Author Page + YouTube! 

You can read my eco-poem on the decline of humpback whales,"The Children of Sirius" here + (temp!) on the bathroom wall at La Hiki Ola! 

"The Children of Sirius" 

APRIL is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH! I am happy to have a new poem "Divinity", tying together my Amish roots and journey to Puna, in the epic anthology from Squares and Rebels Press, "Lovejets: Queer Male Poets on 200 Years of Walt Whitman". Out 5.15, Preorder today at squaresandrebels.com! 

Several non-fic essays are in the works for 2019, details tba.

On a more personal note, since arriving in Puna in late April of 2017 I have been reading and studying Hawaiian / Pacific literature and spirituality: 

"The Bowl of Light" by Hank Wesselman and "Kahuna of Light" by Moke Kupihea are two books that changed my life and life in the spiritual center of the Punaverse has been enLIGHTenment! 

I love the beautiful Hawaiian language and mele - The Merrie Monarch Festival will be held soon here, yes I'm obsessed with the kane division / performances ha ha! I may or may not have shamelessly and publicly flirted with a kane performer last year!

Guurrrrll!!...... (Did I mention it's spring? wink) 

The 2020 Presidential campaign season has begun and I am happy to officially endorse Mayor Pete for POTUS. I believe he is the leader we need! I wrote about Pete Buttigieg several years ago for Diversity Rules Magazine! #PeteForAmerica 

Yes, this is my official endorsement! PeteForAmerica.com ✔ 
We made history by electing Barack Obama President twice! Let's make history again! 🏳️‍🌈

Aloha! πŸŒ΄πŸŒ•πŸŒ

Are you LGBTQIA+ Amish & need support? Visit www.lgbtamish.com! 🌈

Follow me on Goodreads.com 


Twitter,  IG: @queeraspoetry 🌺

#DisruptingHistory Reclaiming Our Amish Story!

Disrupting History: Reclaiming Our Amish Story conference in Sept is history in the making! For the first time EVER, Amish will be gathering outside the church to discuss issues, the future! Grab your tickets now! #changeiscoming

Watch a full episode of The Amish Entrepreneur Show:

Mennonite World Review article

The Amish Heritage Foundation

The Amish Entrepreneur Show: Elam Zook

An in depth discussion, well worth your time if you are interested in Amish culture!

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FROM PAHOA WITH LAVA 4 @NaLeoTV ShunnedPodcast.com Interview TORAH BONTRAGER:  S1Ep1: James Schwartz on Growing up ...