MOTOR CITY MIX by James Schwartz (ALIEN BUDDHA PRESS) 2.18.22
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Like James Schwartz I too am a big fan of Detroit, though I only spent a few days there. These poems beautifully evoke the city and my memories of that visit.
- Poet Edward Field
Is it the Blues he’s singing? For James, it’s like he’s been astral travelling across states for the last five years, having never really left home. And now, with a sense of homecoming flowing through his veins he bleeds us a picture of the land he’s laid his roots down in, melding images of natural landscape and iron architecture in simple zen-like lines of beat poetry that exhales the black smoke of Detroit factories to a kinesthesia of American history and modern pop culture.
James Schwartz is a modern day beat poet. I’ve been enjoying his work for a while now but with this little book he puts me in mind of Allen Ginsberg, d. a. levy and an old friend of mine, Tom Clark. We’re not merely consuming words here, we are left with a lingering perception inside us - a feeling and a thrill for a place we might never even have been.
It’s intensely American writing - and a little beauty of a book.
- u.v.ray, author of Drug Story
James Schwartz and I have much in common: we are both queer poets who have wandered far and foreign from our origins in the United States. And I also lived in Detroit for a bit but never enjoyed it as much as I do through Schwartz’s eyes, ears, and words. Schwartz wants his city to “Sing me Motown love songs.” His own Motown tape of love songs, photographs, and poetry in Motor City Mix makes me smile. I think I should have found more joy during my time in Detroit. Finally, with James Schwartz’s poems, I do. This book is, as Schwartz writes, a “homecoming.".
- James Penha, @NewVerseNews
The special connection of poetry and place are explored in Motor City Mix on his journey from Amish farmland to morning bus rides down Woodward Avenue and meeting Dante’s bust on Belle Isle. The Detroit of James Schwartz has the weather of Paris, “Tough in the winters, sizzling in summers,” although, it is much grittier.
This poetic walk through Highland Park’s industrial artifacts lets you hear silence of Roman ruins, not the booming din of assembly on a factory floor. The past of a place is always silent, and it takes a poem to make it speak. Motor City Mix is the voice of this city speaking through the poetry of James Schwartz.
- Doug Tanoury, author of Detroit Poems