End of An Era 🏳️‍🌈


As I recently tweeted out it feels like the end of an era and it is the end of the decade. In 2010 I had my first poem published in an anthology, was a fixture on the Michigan slam circuit and about to publish my first poetry collection.

So for the first time in 10 years I have NO books, anthologies, chapbooks, readings or any other project in the works nor plan to. If you're an artist / poet / writer you go through gestation periods and that is where I'm at: beginning a new chapter in my life and looking forward to a much needed social media / blogging break! In the meantime, please buy books to feed me!

Here are a few highlights from the past (near) decade:

LAST NIGHT A DRAG QUEEN SAVED MY LIFE (2010):


THE LITERARY PARTY: GROWING UP GAY AND AMISH IN AMERICA (2011):


AMONG THE LEAVES: QUEER MALE POETS ON THE MIDWESTERN EXPERIENCE (2012):



DIVERSITY RULES MAGAZINE (2013):


MARCHING FOR LGBT AMISH (2014):


QDA: A QUEER DISABILITY ANTHOLOGY (2015):


SECULAR, SATIRICAL & SACRED MEDITATIONS (2016):


FROM AMISH TO ALOHA (2017):


"PUNATIC" POEM PUBLISHED (2018):


PUNATIC (2019):


A Gay Amish Playlist πŸŽ›️


Yes one of the oddest jobs I've worked is filling in for the DJ at The Zoo Bar back in the day and I spent many a night in the DJ booth at Brothers Beta Club! All of these songs mean something to me and represent a period of my life: my clubbing days, whether on a dancefloor or crying over a guy I don't remember anymore or the one that got away. I've put together this mix for fun and to accompany the new Kindle eBook edition of Gay and Amish in America:

1. BROWN LOQUOR

2. AIRWAVE

3. IS IT LOVE

4. THE LOGICAL SONG

5. EMPTY STREETS

6. NOT GIVING UP ON LOVE

7. WAITING

8. LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE

9. TRY IT

10. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT BUT I CAN'T GIVE IT ANYMORE

11. TEMPTATION

12. EVERY OTHER WAY

13. FREED FROM DESIRE

14. 3 AM ETERNAL

15. LET U GO

16. BE THE ONE

17. PRIMADONNA

18. WAVES

19. SO YOUNG SO HIGH

20. VIOLENCE

21. GHOSTS N STUFF

22. GOODNIGHT MOON

A Year of Aloha 🌺


I'll be on a social media / blogging hiatus, beginning in December to focus on my next project so here is a look back at a few highlights from the Big Island, 2019 - A Year of Aloha:


PUNATIC (WRITING KNIGHTS PRESS)

POETRY + COLOR PHOTOS
EXCERPT:


University of Pu'uhuluhulu

I made it to the University of Pu'uhuluhulu yesterday for two classes, a geology class and How to Be A Better Haole and had an amazing time!




Dispatch from Hawaii #13 (Wai o' Pele)

A year ago we lost Wai o' Pele (Green Lake). I will be forever grateful to have visited!


WATCH - My viral video of GREEN LAKE (which aired on Japanese TV!):


PHOTO via PUNATIC:

 

NYT: The Fight Is Still Happening for the Rest of Us

My interview with The New York Times L.G.B.T.Q. in the Midwest, Where the Fight Is Still Happening has been published! Happy PRIDE & #Stonewall50!


Photo: Michelle Mishina-Kunz for The New York Times

_____________________________________________________________


#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. 

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!


LOVEJETS: QUEER MALE POETS ON 200 YEARS OF WALT WHITMAN 
(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.

Dispatch from Hawaii #12 (Leilani Estates)

Closing out 2018 with a visit to Leilani Estates & Fissure 8 (still steaming!)