November Lit News






Thank you to my Readers that have taken the time to contact me, leave reviews and let me know you read my poems and or books. Appreciate you all! 

I am happy to share with you I have several new poems slated for publication in the near future, details TBA! 


Today is #BlackFriday so here are several deals if books are on your holiday shopping list: 



(Photo: Belt Publishing) 

It is good to be home in my home state after 5 years of travels! I am feeling inspired by all things Motor City & looking forward to 2022 & new creative endeavors! 

Amish Democracy


The Amish enclave in America is only possible in a democracy. Remember this? I recently read a social media post by an ex-Amish preacher railing against the US. Clearly he did not factor in history. The freedoms Amish now take for granted would not be possible in an authoritarian regime. 

Happy 35th Anniversary CSL East Hawaii!


Happy 35th anniversary to CSL East Hawaii! I began attending in 2017 after moving to the Big Island. Watch my Creative Thought " From Amish to Aloha" here and today's Sunday Message below. 

The New Verse News: La Palma πŸŒ‹


My new topical poem, on the "La Palma" volcanic eruption, is up at THE NEW VERSE NEWS today. My thoughts with everyone affected. 

Overground Underground Magazine issue #1 FREE!

A PDF of OVERGROUND UNDERGROUND MAGAZINE issue #1 is now FREE! Includes my poem "After Making Love to Emmanuel Macron in a Quarantined Paris".

The Literary Party Kindle eBook!


Need a summer read? I have recieved several queries (from Plain Rainbows) about my book of poetry, photos, essays & a short story "The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America", published via inGroup Press a decade ago. 


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. 

Available as a Kindle eBook!

8 Mile 4 Life

Plain Rainbows merch!

#PlainRainbows merch is here! Wear your Plain Pride! (*Amish Bishops may not approve*) 



Happy Pride to all the Plain Rainbows out there from Detroit! 

This has been an especially special Pride Month with the launch of our podcast "Plain Rainbows: LGBTQ Amish & Anabaptist Stories" with my co-host Mary Byler! 
This is the first time that LGBTQ Amish & Anabaptist issues have been discussed publicly, over 50 years since Stonewall so obviously overdue. 

There have been gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Anabaptist diaspora since its inception but until now we have been shunned and silenced, oppressed and persecuted. 

No more. 

Today we formally announce the birth of the Amish & Anabaptist LGBTQ rights movement. We hereby declare our collective solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Mennonite and Plain communities and announce to the world: we are here and Plain and queer. 

We condemn the Old Order Amish Church and others in Anabaptist communities who continue to violate our human rights, silence us and separate families.

We condemn the ongoing physical, emotional, and sexual abuse perpetrated  daily in Amish and Anabaptist communities in America and around the world, unchecked. 

We call upon all the victims of abuse to directly contact law enforcement and bypass the Church. 

We call upon all Amish, Mennonite and Plain ministries to marry same-sex couples if requested to do so and to find a spiritual path to loving acceptance of us.

The Amish church-state today mirrors the Catholic church it once opposed. Instead of a beacon of freedom the Amish Church is a business and multi-million dollar tourism industry. 

The truth is the Old Order Amish could not be further from our forefathers' spiritual principles and ideals. 

As more and more of us leave the church to obtain our freedom, we individually hold a personal responsibility to those we have left behind in a fear-based, fundamentalist, spiritually barren environment held hostage by bishops and ministries playing God. 

No more.

Today we announce the #PlainRainbows movement to celebrate the authenticity of LGBTQ Amish and Anabaptist worldwide and our mission to uplift and support each other collectively against homophobia, hate, prejudice and ignorance.

Thank you for your support and thank you to all of our beautiful guests for stepping forward in our hour of need.

Happy Pride! 

-Rev. James Schwartz 

#Pride2021 Playlist 🏳️‍🌈

It is Pride weekend so here's a Pride playlist comprised of some songs from my clubbing days, some MI. artists etc. in no particular order. I loved manning the DJ booth on a slow night at The Zoo or Brothers, once and I will always love club music.



It Feels So Good

Stereo Love

Turn It Around

Smalltown Boy

Set You Free

Rise Up

Not Over Yet

10 Scared To Be Lonely

11 Just Be 

12 Put Your Hands Up For Detroit

13 Not Afraid

14 After the Love Has Gone 

15 Stay With Me Baby

16 God Control 

17 Amsterdam 

Plain Rainbows: Denver Pride 🏳️‍🌈


Thank you to my PLAIN RAINBOWS: LGBTQ AMISH & ANABAPTIST STORIES co-host Mary Byler for reppin LGBTQ Amish at Denver Pride - HERSTORY made! We are here and we are Plain and queer! More pics at the Plain Rainbows FB Page

Chicago Review of Books: "Sweeter Voices Still" Review

Chicago Review of Books reviews Sweeter Voices Still: An LGBTQ Anthology from Middle AmericaA Midwestern LGBTQIA+ Book a Day for Pride Month! There will also be a Pride Month virtual reading from the anthology June 23, which you can register for here!  

Featured Post

The Literary Party Kindle eBook!

  Need a summer read? I have recieved several queries (from Plain Rainbows) about my book of poetry, photos, essays & a short story &quo...