Coming Soon!

It is hard to believe that 2016 is nearly over! Still to come!
  • FourPlay #23: Michigan Meditations Oct. 
  • Possible poem in zine Dec.
Also, working on a short story & several pieces for Eris Magazine!

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#NationalComingOutDay LGBT Amish

Today is National Coming Out Day! Yep... Im queer! Later this year, LGBT Amish.com will be updated with new content I'm told by Thad and Jeffrey. Which brings me to today's topic: LGBTQI+ Amish. Where are we now? With the Amish publicly supporting Trump due to his opposition to LGBT marriage equality. And an Amish Super PAC.

Mennonites have come around on LGBT issues (some Mennos, anyway!) in recent years, the Old Order Amish have not. Right-wing conservative rhetoric is often at odds with Anabaptist teachings but Amish men do not like the idea of a woman over man, in any way. In their view, women should be submissive. The Amish live in a patriarchal society and women are taught to know their place which is not on Pennsylvania Ave!

Diversity Rules Magazine: Ex-Amish Democrat Endorses Hillary Clinton for President 

I have been fortunate enough to have spoken with several gay Amish men recently and they agree the church leaders are going backwards. LGBT Amish sadly continue to be cast out and shunned.
Today is #NationalComingOutDay2016 so I would like to take a moment and celebrate my gay Amish and ex-Amish peeps! You have overcome incredible odds to be true to yourselves. Being gay is a divine gift.
I was asked in a recent interview if I could ever go back to the Amish. The answer is no. I have an incredible support system of friends and community that love me as I am (thankful!).
The Amish may never come to accept their gay minority but others will, gladly. So Happy Coming Out Day... even if you can't! ❤


First Friday Fire! Cameo

It has been a few years but I finally made it to Fire! for an open mic cameo! I paid homage to Edward Field, reading his classic poem Unwanted.


Eris: Edward Field Interview

I'm humbled and honored to interview one of the greatest poets of our time, Edward Field!

Eris Magazine: The Edward Field Interview + SECRET OF THE MASTERS
Also via Eris: Remembering Poet James Croteau


Sisters of Brothers Reunion Show


Greetings on a warm, sunny day from Amish country, #MISheCan!

I'm looking forward to publishing new pieces this fall in Eris Magazine, my latest endorsing Hillary Clinton for POTUS!
Also in the works, several literary pieces and a book review of At Danceteria and Other Stories (Squares and Rebels Press).

ICYMI: The Legend of Bernie Sanders and the 2016 Political Revolution Through Walter Beck Poetry


October "Meditations"

It's official! My poetry Fourplay Michigan Meditations will be released in October via Writing Knights Press!


Remembering The Lady Chablis

I am devastated by the passing of The Doll, The Grand Empress of Savannah: The Lady Chablis. I was honored to correspond with her several times and loved her book Hiding My Candy. A beautiful spirit!

Club One Savannah statement:

The Lady chablis, who stole hearts - and the spotlight - in Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil, passed this morning surrounded by friends and family.
In his Best Selling novel, known in Savannah as The Book, John Berendt wrote that when he first met The Lady Chablis, “she had both hands on her hips and a sassy half-smile on her face,” a pose that would grace many stages.
Just as The Book shined the spotlight on Savannah, so too did Chablis shine the spotlight on the gay scene, and especially on Club One. She was Club One’s very first entertainer, officiating our grand opening in 1988, and paving the way for female impersonation in Savannah. No one, however, could outshine the Grand Empress herself.
With the success of “The Book,” Chablis shot to stardom. She was a guest on Good Morning America, and was interviewed by Oprah. She insisted to USA Today that she would play herself in the movie - or there would not be one. She’d be the first to tell you that she stole the show in Clint Eastwood’s 1997 adaptation. Since then, thousands of visitors have come to Savannah, visiting the locations in The Book, and crowding into Club One to see her.
In 1996, she released her autobiography “Hiding My Candy,” dubbed by her publisher as a cross between The Color Purple and Cinderella. The Doll loved to cook, and included several of her favorite recipes at the back of her book, like Brenda’s Kickin’ Chicken.
She has long been a giver to the community. Throughout the 2000’s, she worked closely on various campaigns for the American Diabetes Association, donating thousands of dollars raised by her performances to the cause.
She was the headlining entertainer for Savannah Pride’s inaugural celebration, and hosted their Miss Gay Pride Pageant. She would go on to perform, donate and contribute to many LGBT charities throughout her career.
Chablis always wanted to give the audience, be it 15 or 1500, the best that she had. With her declining health, she regretted that her body wouldn’t allow her to give more. Chablis is survived by her sister, Cynthia. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, who request privacy during this time of grief.


Diversity Rules: HRC Endorsement

My endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President can be read in the September issue of Diversity Rules Magazine! Click here for more!


A Secular, Satirical & Sacred Mix

Apparently the latest rage in the poetry world are soundtracks & mixtapes to accompany book releases. In my 20s I DJ'd several times at The Zoo Bar as well as working the door and cleaning up after!

 Here are songs & sounds for SECULAR, SATIRICAL & SACRED MEDITATIONS:

1. Not Giving Up On Love

2. Empty Streets

3. Every Other Way

4. At The End

5. Not Over Yet

6. The Sodom and Gomorrah Show

7. Violence

8. Everybody's Free

9. Let You Go

10. They Don't Know

+ MIX 2

1. Summertime

2. Feeling Good

3. Waves

4. Born to Die

5. Boys of Summer

6. X-Ray (Follow Me)

7. Nobody's Innocent

8. Home

9. Night Moves

10. Turn Up The Radio

Replay: Eris Magazine

Available via Writing Knights Press & Amazon.


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!


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.


Secular, Satirical & Sacred Meditations


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


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


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


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!


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


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?


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!


#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!


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... 


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!


FLAME GLBTQ Arts & Literary Project: #theseahorsemovie

Posted by FLAME GLBTQ Arts & Literary Project on Thursday, January 21, 2016


Flint: A Brief Meditation

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.



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,

Alexis de Tocqueville,

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

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