8.28.2016

Diversity Rules Magazine & Title Reveal


Coming in September...

Readers can catch my endorsement of Hillary Clinton in next months issue of Diversity Rules Magazine!

Also, in September: my Writing Knights Press Fourplay Michigan Meditations!

-

GAYCATION: Orlando


8.22.2016

Coming Soon!

Coming in September: FourPlay #? by James Schwartz (Writing Knights Press). Read an excerpt here!
Previous Fourplays include Alpine Suite, Poetry 4 Food 2 and Poetry 4 Food 3. Writing Knights Press will also be releasing ebooks of titles previously only available in paperback format including Arrival and Departure and Secular, Satirical & Sacred Meditations!



8.16.2016

Book Reviews, Updates

Thank you to my Readers for your messages, if you would like to review a book of mine please do so at Amazon or Goodreads. If you email me them I have to edit your punctuation... yikes!

I've just spent the last two days polishing a short story and working on new pieces for Eris Magazine so I'm keeping busy (keep your eye out for another 4Play chapbook from Writing Knights!).
After putting out three poetry collections, micro-chaps, anthologies etc. I feel the time has come to switch gears, take a hiatus and embark on new projects - maybe fiction.
My short story Amish Road Trip is available via Jonathan: A Journal of Queer Male Fiction Issue 07.


I love poetry first and foremost but as a writer you want to grow and try your hand at new things. Writing is an organic experience, to be a writer you have to go away from the crowd / social media sometimes to focus without distractions. That is what I'll be doing this fall!
Writing! As always, I will blog any updates in my free time.

ICYMI:

Secular, Satirical & Sacred Meditations


8.08.2016

Book List #1


Growing up in the Old Order Amish meant no television, luckily, so early in life I was a vicarious reader, library card in hand. My Dad would read aloud from the Bible, occasionally chapters of Robinson Crusoe. We both read our way through the entire Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Mandie series. Fond memories of Sherlock Holmes, Heidi and Dickens as well.

 I read more fiction in my 20s and poetry today, still go to the classics, biographies, history and even Harold Bloom. I've written several book lists and enjoy reading them hence curating this list.



 15 books for your consideration:

1. The Great Romantics - Keats, Shelley and Byron. My introduction to the Greats was in my late teens but I continuously revisit them all.

2. Of Human Bondage - I love W. Somerset Maugham's short stories the most, including "Rain", but this novel is brilliant.

3. Shakespeare - Of course!

4. The Flowers of Evil - If you haven't yet...

5. A Capote Reader - I've read everything Capote published with pleasure. Including Gerald Clarke's biographyletters and yes, Summer Crossing! Also Plimpton's biography and Dear Genius. Bless Jack Dunphy.

6. Death Comes for the Archbishop - Through Capote I discovered Willa Cather. What a beautiful writer!

7. Out of Africa - Ditto. Capote and many other writers consider this one of the most beautiful books ever written. It is hard to disagree.

8. Slave - A Goodreads reviewer puts it best: A remarkable testament to the human spirit. My Dad read this book as well.

9. Paul Bowles - I love his travel essays and short stories.

10. Peace Shall Destroy Many - I only recently came across this book by a Mennonite author. Well worth reading.

11. To the Lighthouse - I'm reading Jacob's Room at the moment but would like to read all Virginia Woolf's books.

12. Kiss of the Spider Woman - I read this book at random and am so glad I did.

13. Hart Crane - My favorite American poet.

14. What About This - My second favorite American poet. Wait... what about Whitman?

15. James Baldwin - Read him.

Self-Care for LGBT


7.29.2016

Amish Call to Action

A sad reality is the sexual, mental, physical and substance abuse ongoing within the Old Order Amish and their lack of resources and access to mental health services. This is a collective call to action: ex-Amish, Mennonite and anyone under the Anabaptist umbrella - and allies to unite! For the common good!
The Amish need help dealing with abuse. There are so many that would be willing to help out and be an ally to the community. What better time than now? A few suggestions:
1. The Amish need a basic website (tailored for plain phones?) that lists state by state mental health services, resources etc. Also, for Amish publications i.e. The Budget to advertise these services.
2. There is a need for an online website and forum where ex Amish etc. can dialogue.
3. The Child Rights Enforcement Act for the minors of Religious Exclusionists
This is not my or any one persons project but a collective effort.
Please share and click here for more.

Amish education is important! ADSFund

7.27.2016

5 Summer Reads


As always my reading is all over the map. I even read ebooks now! I love Russian writers like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky but have set aside the Masters for poets like Gibran this year. This summer I've been reading new poetry and fiction and am preoccupied with these must reads:

1. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

2. Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong

3. What Belongs to You: A Novel by Garth Greenwell

4. Here Comes the Sun: A Novel by Nicole Dennis-Benn

5. Black Deutschland: A Novel by Darryl Pinckney

#StrongerTogether

I am using my voice today to endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States! This has been an overly long election campaign and I, like many Michiganders, supported Senator Bernie Sanders. What an amazing campaign! As Clinton won the party nomination I have come around. I like Hillary. Always have, actually.


When I was in my early teens my father and I visited Washington DC (soon to be our 51st state!). The Washington Monument, the Mall, the Petersen House and of course the White House made quite the impression on a wide eyed Amish kid.

Washington DC tourist photo 
We toured the Capitol with a bus load of other Amish... my father teaching me an early lesson on democracy.
A black homeless man was walking around asking for a quarter to buy a cup of coffee. Some of the other Amish with us acted skittish and hurried back on the bus. Not my Dad!
He clapped the guy on his back, announced they were going to go get coffee and left chatting away. Turned out the homeless guy once lived in Pennsylvania and knew some people Dad knew. Dad kept everyone on the bus waiting and didn't care. On the way home some Amish treated us with considerable coolness and some did not.
Dad, for being given an Old Order Amish man, had some liberal ways about him. Including refusing to shun me after I left the church and came out as gay.
True we were Swiss Amish but still...

Many LGBT Amish are shunned and forced to leave their families and communities to live authentic lives and be true to themselves.
Most have sad stories to tell.
As an artist I have used my voice to support LGBT Amish abandon by the church and their families. The Amish tend to cherry-pick Scriptures and today are among the last churches in America to refuse to accept LGBT members.
America, however, moves forward. We now have marriage equality, more Americans than not support gay marriage and churches are opening their doors.
Hillary Clinton understands the struggles of the LGBT community and will work for us, We the People... As for the other side, there is nothing there for us and we refuse to go backwards! It is wonderful to see disability in the DNC spotlight as well! I dont see myself as just a liberal but the Democratic platform makes me proud to be an ex Amish Democrat!


I am happy to support Hillary Clinton for President! We are #strongertogether!

7.18.2016

A "Secular" Q & A


This Q & A was conducted for a scrapped FB lit page. Here is the interview, updated:

Q: Give us a feel for your new poetry chapbook Secular, Satirical & Sacred Meditations from Writing Knights?

A: Well, I'm inspired by my Swiss, French heritage and pay homage in several poems like Je Suis Charlie. We are living in an Age of Terror these days and this collection reflects this. I write about more personal topics too like disability and loss.

Q: You grew up gay and Amish, do you write about that?

A: Yes in different ways. One prose piece is in the form of a letter. Another poem Leather Daddy is gritty and edgy if I may use that adjetive. A lot of this collection is political.

Q: You have written essays and short stories. What are you currently writing?

A: I'm mulling over several projects. Maybe more fiction. Always poetry!


James Schwartz also writes for Eris Magazine and The Good Men Project. Secular, Satirical & Sacred Meditations is available on Amazon.com.

Schwartz History


Canadian Mennonite: Mennos March

Canadian Mennonite: Mennos March

7.11.2016

Blog Post To My Bro

Dear brotHer,
It has been 6 years since we've spoken, your choice. Your anger is so all consuming but I let it go. I cannot force you to give me my inheritance money but I am in desperate need of the 5k you took for rent. Rent for staying at the farm after Dad died. Rent for taking care of the place. Rent for driving Dad back and forth to his numerous Dr. appointments, to the cancer center. You had to work and couldn't.
Do you love your disabled brother?
Do you love your queer brother?
Now is the time to make amends!
Everyone is talking about us. Stop doing this to me. Stop hurting me!
Where will your hate end?


6.19.2016

Lavender Magazine: QDA Review

Lavender Magazine has published a review of QDA: a queer disability anthology  in their Pride issue, have a look!


Summer Update

Happy father's Day to all the fathers out there! Summer is here and I love summer in Michigan. I have been busy reading and writing in my free time, there are a lot of books on my must read list and never enough time but I hope to have new poetry to share with you soon. Lately, my enthusiasm has turned to fiction but poetry is my first love.


ICYMI: A Masonic Meditation via ERIS

This is a short piece highlighting "river country" Michigan history (we like tourists FYI), I scrapped a longer version but may return to it at some point. No I havent joined the masonry and yes I liked that Dan Brown book too!

To all my gay friends and community post Orlando Pulse tragedy, stay strong! ❤ You are loved!

4.20.2016

#NationalPoetryMonth RFD Magazine



I have 2 poems Leather Daddy and Sacred Geometry (excerpt from Secular, Satirical & Sacred Meditations) in the queer comics themed Spring 2016 issue of RFD Magazine!

2.23.2016

Flint Water Drive

I spent my birthday with friends joining me on a Flint water drive, nice to see so many people stepping up and helping Flint out! Also big thanks to @ArtVan!
MLive: Flint Water Crisis... 



1.28.2016

Eris: "Secular, Satirical & Sacred Meditations" Excerpt


Say hello to the newest writer at Eris Magazine! Read a book excerpt from Secular, Satirical & Sacred Meditations here and more of my work in the future!

1.23.2016

FLAME GLBTQ Arts & Literary Project: #theseahorsemovie


JANUARY'S FEATURED ARTIST IS INDIANA BASED FILMMAKER KATIE MADONNA LEE. ENJOY HER STORY AS I HAVE!~ Prometheus~ What...
Posted by FLAME GLBTQ Arts & Literary Project on Thursday, January 21, 2016

1.21.2016

Flint: A Brief Meditation

Photo MLIVE
Some years ago I visit Flint, Michigan with a friend. I am struck by all the boarded up houses, churches and Coney Island stands that line the streets. Prostitutes are everywhere, bumming cigarettes. I walk to the gay bar and spend the evening -- don't bring up unions the bartender warns.
He drives us around the next morning, showing off the city sights including the Flint river. I remark the drinking water tastes terrible.

1.14.2016

#FlintWaterCrisis



Ironically, as I've been promoting my new poetry collection Secular, Satirical & Sacred Meditations (Writing Knights Press) featuring A Drop of Water, my response to the Detroit water shortage, the #FlintWaterCrisis begins. If you are interested in helping the citizens of Flint, please visit Hope4Flint.

A Drop of Water

Land of lapping lakes,
Peninsula,
&
Pine.


Alexis de Tocqueville,
Frontiersmen,
&
Forefathers.


Detroit flood,
&
Detroit debt,
Our kingdom for a drop of water.


RELATED:
Washington Post: In Flint...
Michigan Radio: Not Safe to Drink

12.20.2015

2 "Rainbow Gazzette" Poems


Early (queer) poetry via Michiana's Rainbow Gazzette (2008). ‪#‎theseahorsemovie

12.08.2015

QDA Excerpt: "Fellowship" by James Schwartz



"Fellowship"
by James Schwartz

Before every other Sunday service,
The Amish men shake my hand.


I offer them my left limply,
One nice fellow always smiles.


Reaching for, engulfing my right,
His hand and smile warm.


Sometimes he slips me chewing gum,
Or pieces of hard candy.


I offer my left hand,
To the next in line.


We stand around by the barn,
Until it is time to go inside.


via QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology  (Squares & Rebels, 2015)  

The Struggle of Being Gay in Albania


Wordgathering Book Review

Wordgathering reviews QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology (now available via Amazon in paperback and eBook). 

12.03.2015

QDA



QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology is now available from Squares and Rebels Press and on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats!

ICYMI: Huff Post: Disability and LGBTQ Intersectionality 

Washington Blade Review

Windy City Review  

The Bay Area Reporter Review 


Omnibus Journal Review by Walter Beck 

11.09.2015

10.26.2015

#theseahorsemovie selfie

filming on set of The Seahorse documentary 10/25 (discussing LGBT Amish, "rumspringa" at The Seahorse and read a poem). Selfie via @katiemadonnalee w/ Daddy Kash.

9.07.2015

QDA: A Review

Happy Labor Day from a working poet. I will be blogging forthcoming book reviews and news about my next poetry collection when I can. Next year my readers may be in for a few surprises!


Take a break and check out a new QDA book review!