Growing Up Gay and Amish

A Book By James Schwartz
© 2012 Diversity Rules Magazine and James Schwartz.  All Rights Reserved.

schwartzJames Schwartz is a poet and slam performer striving for the simplicity of Cavafy mixed with modern gay wordplay and elements.  Schwartz’s poetry/slam material dialougues of queer issues and affirmations of gay (night) life and love.  He was born February 19, 1978 and raised in the Old Order Amish community in southwest MI.

Schwartz’s poetry publications include Poetry Life and Times (UK), Michiana’s Rainbow Gazette (P-FLAG), Babel:  The Multilingual, Multicultural Online Journal, LGBT Asylum News, All Poetry is Prayer anthology (2010), The New Verse News, Queer Dirty Laundry, Politiku, Poetry 24, Nostrovia! Poetry and @7×20.  Schwartz is the author of The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America (inGroup Press) 2011

As a slam performer Schwartz has read at The Meta Café, This is Fire! The Zoo Bar and St. Joseph County MI, Democratic Inauguration Day party of President Barack Obama.

What comes to mind when you think about the Amish? For most people, the popular imagery is a horse and buggy, farmhouses with no electricity, funny hats, and bowl haircuts. Ever since Weird Al Yankovich recorded“Amish Paradise”, certain stereotypes have persisted in popular culture. None of these stereotypes, however,have included gay.

The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America (July 2011, inGroup Press) is one of those books that shatter stereotypes. Written by James Schwartz, a Michigan native who grew up in an Old Order Amish community,

The Literary Party offers an eye-opening portrait of gay life within a religious group known for its privacy and secrecy. When the documentary  Devil’s Playground (2002) examined rumspringa—a period when Amish teenagers can engage in rebellious behavior before choosing whether or not to remain in the church— viewers were shocked. Watching an Amish teen ride a horse and buggy to a party where drinking and smoking were involved shattered popular myths. Schwartz’s  Literary Party continues that theme. From juvenile flirtations to gay clubs, drag, love, and sex, Schwartz tells his story through poetry that is moving, heartfelt, political, and celebratory.For more information about the author, or to schedule an interview with James Schwartz, please contact his publisher, inGroup Press, or his publicist, JP Souza.

The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America is a free read for Kindle and his latest is 6 new poems in the anthology Among the Leaves: Queer Male Poets on the Midwestern Experience (Squares & Rebels Press).  The links to Schwartz’s books are as follows:

The Literary Party:  Growing Up Gay and Amish:

Among the Leaves:

More information on James and how to contact him is at: or at Twitter: @queeraspoetry.

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