Books / eBooks


AMISH ROAD TRIP (KINDLE SINGLE E-BOOK, 2019) NOW AVAILABLE! 

AMISH MEDITATION (KINDLE SINGLE E-BOOK, 2019) NOW AVAILABLE

AMISH GUN CONTROL (KINDLE SINGLE E-BOOK, 2019) NOW AVAILABLE

ALPINE SUITE (KINDLE SINGLE E-BOOK, 2019) NOW AVAILABLE!

PUNATIC (WRITING KNIGHTS PRESS, 2019) 
"Organic and volcanic" 
Read a review here


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 

A worthy homage. - SAN FRANCISCO REVIEW OF BOOKS 


THE WAYWARD SWORD: GRAND SHOWCASE (WRITING KNIGHTS PRESS, 2018)



THE WAYWARD SWORD: #RESIST (WRITING KNIGHTS, 2017)

OUR HAPPY HOURS: LGBT VOICES FROM THE GAY BARS (FLASHPOINT, 2017)

During the days and nights following the massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the world listened as various spokespersons attempted to explain to the general public exactly what the gay bar/club meant to LGBTQI people. The words “safe place,” “refuge,” “free to be ourselves” flew through the air. We queer writers grappled with the tragedy alongside our brothers and sisters. How could we express our feelings about the places where we could drop all pretense of conforming to the hetero-normative society’s rules? What words could we gather to let the rest of the world know the pain we felt upon losing so many beautiful strangers on a night in June and in a place that had been one of our havens? How and why does the gay bar intersect so many of our lives? The stories and poems living between the covers of this book attempt to answer those questions. Spend a few happy hours with us in our gay bars. **All profits from this publication will go to charities that benefit the LGBTQI community**
CHALLENGING SUBMISSIONS (WRITING KNIGHTS, 2017)
PUSHCART NOMINEE 



NOT MY PRESIDENT: AN ANTHOLOGY OF DISSENT  (THOUGHTCRIME PRESS, 2017)

Poetry. Fiction. Literary Nonfiction. Drama. African & African American Studies. Latinx Studies. Jewish Studies. Women's Studies. LGBTQIA Studies. California Interest. NOT MY PRESIDENT: THE ANTHOLOGY OF DISSENT gathers voices from around the world in this anthology, including National Book Award winners, visual artists, New York Times Best Sellers, a dozen poets laureate, singer-songwriters, high school students, and children of illegal immigrants, all united in their opposition to the policies of Donald Trump. A copy of the book was sent to every member of Congress and Donald Trump.

A truly diverse, impassioned, and heartening collection of voices united in horror, frustration, fury, and purpose. I have been reading a few pages each night at bedtime, and I marvel at how comforting it has been for me to see my own revulsion and anger at our current situation mirrored by so many voices from so many points of view. Each time I set it down, I am smarter, more focused, and more determined to right the wrongs that are taking place today. A truly wonderful book. 
READER REVIEW - POWELLS



HESSLER STREET POETRY ANTHOLOGY 2017 



DANGEROUS SUBMISSIONS -- THE WAYWARD SWORD (WRITING KNIGHTS, 2017) 

FOURPLAY #23: MICHIGAN MEDITATIONS (WRITING KNIGHTS PRESS, 2016) 


SECULAR, SATIRICAL & SACRED MEDITATIONS (WRITING KNIGHTS PRESS, 2016)

QDA: A QUEER DISABILITY ANTHOLOGY (SQUARES & REBELS PRESS, 2015)

 I’ve also found that close attention to the physical adds strength and focus to writing. QDA is an anthology that offers wild and affirming examples of this.  James Schwartz’s poems “Scene” and “Bent” are just eight and six lines long respectively, yet one is sharply erotic and the other drops you deep into intimacy. And this is accomplished through pinpoint physical scenes—” A crooked arm/Has enough strength/To grasp onto/His arching back.”

Read FULL REVIEW here

A triumph of art. - WINDY CITY TIMES 

READY, SEXY, ABLE

Startling, provocative - WORDGATHERING

WRITING KNIGHTS PRESS 2014 ANTHOLOGY AMAZON

FOURPLAY #18 - #19: POETRY 4 FOOD 3 (WRITING KNIGHTS PRESS, 2014)


 PAGE-A-DAY POETRY ANTHOLOGY (WRITING KNIGHTS PRESS, 2014) AMAZON  

JONATHAN: A JOURNAL OF QUEER MALE FICTION (SIBLING RIVALRY PRESS, 2014) AMAZON 
 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.

 BEST OF BOOKS BY THE BED 2 (BRIGHT CITY BOOKS, 2014)

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE (WRITING KNIGHTS PRESS, 2014) AMAZON 

 “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.” – CHER GUEVARA, poet / freelance journalist

 THE LITERARY PARTY: GROWING UP GAY AND AMISH IN AMERICA  
(inGroup Press, 2011) AMAZON KINDLE 


EDGE REVIEW BY PAUL LANDERMAN
 With apologies to Max Weber and Margaret Mead, any armchair anthropologist or sociologist in North America worthy of cocktail party chatter will be able to explain the propensity of sub-groups and clans and tribes to gather into ever-tighter circles as the onslaught of cultural evolution broaches their sacred world-view. The Mormons did it in their westward trek in the 1840’s, the Quakers, the Mennonites and the Jim Jones Temple folks and of course the Amish as well, all have their stories of hiding from the realities of the then-perceived world and its evils. The difficulty lays in the troubling fringe of each of these groups, how to control, guide, indoctrinate, and sublimate their individual members into compliance with group norms and expectations; Ross Douthat of the New York Times calls it the paranoia of the six-degrees of separation game. 


 "The Literary Party: Growing up Gay and Amish in America" helps us to see into one of these uniquely American groups and the ways in which it builds tight walls of protection around their world-view by destroying the internally unacceptable. James Schwartz shares with us a view point that is at the same time unique, fascinating, real, and also horrifying, as a young gay man growing up in a traditional Amish farm family. His voice, and his story, which we are allowed to glimpse through his poetry, helps us to understand what it may be like for such a cloistered view of the world from the inside out.



 Certainly every such group in American history has similarities, familiar trajectories, and expected time sequences: a coming-of-age story in any other setting, East Los Angeles, for example, or Bedford-Stuyvesant, or Salt Lake City, may stand on similar ground. What helps us appreciate the struggle of Schwartz’ "Literary Party" is the rare insight that is current, fresh, and authentic. I am still upset at Tim Allen and Kirstie Allie for that horrible "For Richer or Poorer" (1997), and I also have to suggest that all of hip-hop and rap combined may not be as authentic as we wish it to be, at least in an anthropological sense. I am still waiting for the Langston Hughes of the twenty-first century, and I am not at all sure that even Martha Beck, with her brilliance, is an authentic Mormon voice either.



 Conversely, Schwartz seems to have made the transition to the mainstream American cultural highway fairly easily: "In this time and at this rate/ the world prefers its assassins str8./ Heros for heteros to relate/ comfort for their grieving mate." Poetry is elastic, no matter which culture upon which it focuses nor from which it may be derived, and as a reader, my experience, world view, politics, religion, sexuality, age, and ethnicity all come to bear upon the machinations of my interpretation of any poetry, and in Schwartz’ work I can reflect on not simply what he meant to say, but what the poetry is saying to me right now and right here. The inferred message is, an Amish gay man can speak to me and we can share some universality of human emotion and cross-cultural meaning, and succeed in making the world a little easier to deal with and a little easier to negotiate.

I am eager to see the maturation of this poet; in "The Pale City" ("From the pale city/ beside the sea/ I traveled once more home/ to the fields in hues of tea") helps us see the future of James Schwartz, an authentic American voice, and that uniquely individual voice as well.

THE RAINBOW TIMES

An extraordinary collection of poetry. The poems are about love, rejection and awareness. Although these are topics long written about, the poems crafted by Schwartz are very different. They are raw, honest and unpretentious with an underlying struggle to be Amish or understand his childhood faith as an LGBTQ child of God. Each poem is a gem demonstrating spiritual depth and awareness.

THE ADVOCATE HOT SHEET #6

Young poet and slam performer James Schwartz combines smart, passionate, refreshingly unpretentious poetry and short stories in this staggering illustration of his family problems, love, heartbreak, gay nightlife, gay politics, and the lasting effects of his famously intolerant religion and culture.

THE ADVOCATE BOOKSHELF 

James Schwartz’s collection of poetry and short stories about being “gaymish” is emotional, compelling, sometime devastating but always accessible even to those who don’t care for poetry (read: most Americans). The ultimate upshot: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America is probably the only book in America that’ll tell you what it’s like to take a horse and buggy to a gay nightclub.




 Beautifully constructed poetry and poignant essays... 

Do yourself a favor and get your hands on a copy.  It gives you a unique insight into a person breaking free from a suffocating and restrictive environment to discover who he is and provides a sense of optimism that maybe one day the Amish community will become more enlightened and accepting of LGBT people in their community.


FOURPLAY #14: POETRY 4 FOOD 2 (WRITING KNIGHTS PRESS, 2013) 

FOURPLAY #12: ALPINE SUITE (WRITING KNIGHTS PRESS, 2013) 
  

MILK & HONEY SIREN (NOSTROVIA! POETRY) E-BOOK 2013 GOODREADS 

Milk & Honey Siren is an anthology of poetry and short fiction. The collection, published by Nostrovia! Poetry, aims to bring forth poetry and writing to the youth. Many members of the younger generation stereotype poetry as a "whiny and pretentious". This anthology pushes against these stereotypes.

Rimbaud as a youth ran away from home to write, putting his poems on bits of paper. Poetry, for him, was the way to salvation. Rimbaud was a hooligan in his time, a Bad Boy when young poets were celebrities.

Well, poets are no longer celebrities in that sense, but youth poet Jeremiah Walton, manager of the press, Nostrovia! Poetry is attempting through edited anthologies, a guest blog, and other means to grab the attentions of young people and to fix them once again on poetry. His anthology, Milk and Honey Siren is a part of that effort. "Poetry," Walton writes, "has been labeled by young people 'whiny and annoying.'" He wishes to bring to his peers works that will elicit another point of view toward the literary arts and has largely succeeded in this collection.

There is no single style promoted in Milk and Honey Siren. The only criteria for inclusion in the anthology were quality and ability to address young people. Both active poets and emerging poets were included and they are not necessarily all young themselves.

This is not a transgressive collection. There’s some anger, but largely not. The concerns of the writers in this anthology are relevant even to those working hard for good grades in school. In the very entertaining "Doug Complex" by Lance Manion, one of a few short prose pieces in the anthology, the 17-year-old Doug worries that he will be grounded for obliterating the stars in the sky (one for every girl who has rejected him).

A set of "Invisible Monkeys" poems by Kyle Hemmings in particular caught my eye. Hemmings has written other invisible monkeys poems (prose poems) from a fantastical perspective. They evoke James Tate, but relate experiences of meeting a girl, pizza, pinball. There's even a critique of the literary establishment (called "Literary establishment") written in rhyme, but using it effectively, by Ben Saphiro, who has written several Kindle books.

A short poem I found particularly compelling was Nathan Hondros' "Migraine," with its imagery and fine last line:

it was a revelation
that knife I carried
behind the eyes –
if she had seen me clearly
she would have known how I carry death
in a hot iron
between the temples.
later, she was knee deep
in the Aegean. a sort of siren,
calling me in, her hands above her head, and
naked from the waist up.
instead I fell face first.
I lay in bed all day imagining this for her.

Also, Mike Murphey's "Blue November" sonnet, reproduced here in its entirety:

Where has my Nora gone? I do not see her
in our white painted room where her crucifixes
hang above the bed. I do not see her
in the garden where the blue rhododendrons

clamor for light. Where is my only girl
who makes the moonlight my midnight friend?
In this pitch less room, I must wait
with the antique barometer, the dried out roses

and the porcelain angel for the common crow
to break the silence of my nightly vigil,
claim my fitful sleep, claim my broken schemes.

Blue was her dream, blue, always her color
when she took handfuls of barbiturates,
when November rain returned with its idle words.

There are many references to pop culture in here, as would be expected in a collection designed to appeal to youth: Disneyland, comics, flat screen TVs. These work well in the collection. But there are also references to the Arab Spring, genocide, The Great Gatsby, Marc Chagall.

The reader can find poems to like here, from the aesthetic sparseness of Lauren Frament's "The Boy With Pomegranate Flesh Between His Teeth" or John Flynn's "Seismic" to the visually evocative “Release of the Cabbage Looper Moth” by Kristen Berger, to Adam Steiner's densely packed "The Waters Come Alive."

- GOODREADS REVIEW

ALL POETRY IS PRAYER A FIRE ANTHOLOGY (2010)
An amazing collection of some of the finest poets to grace Fire's stage. They include some of the best page, stage and performance poets around. 


James Schwartz's books on Goodreads

The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America
reviews: 9
ratings: 19 (avg rating 4.21)

Milk and Honey Siren Milk and Honey Siren
reviews: 4
ratings: 12 (avg rating 4.67)

Among the Leaves: Queer Male Poets on the Midwestern Experience Among the Leaves: Queer Male Poets on the Midwestern Experience
reviews: 1
ratings: 7 (avg rating 5.00)