An Overview of James Schwartz book “Sunset in Rome” from Alien Buddha Press

James Schwartz “Sunset in Rome” is part novella/part poetry and is a satirical approach and tackling the subjects of growing up both gay and Amish all the while while paying homage to Denham Fouts, Arthur Rimbaud & “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

James has been contributing poetry and spoken word to Fevers of the Mind for close to a year, and since then has sent in some unique and thought provoking poetry & stories, and this book is no different than that.

This book begins as a story/play that displays in words the feelings of having to be told to keep secrets. Not only are you discouraged to be yourself. You are abandoned and rendered almost obsolete to those that supposed to have cared for you. So a strong sense of rebellion just to be yourself is born. This unfortunately isn’t the safest path for the character “Jakob” in this novella as he finds himself in a dire situation with some shady characters looking to take advantage of him. So, “Jakob” is always searching for a new way to get to a “home” and to be accepted since the old home isn’t accepting of him. Jakob however, is looking to change the dynamic and expose that there is more like him out there, even in the shadows of secrecies.

The poetry is outstanding from James in the book. “American Linden” which I posted on here as well a month or so ago

Poetry Preview “American Linden” from “Sunset in Rome” from James SchwartzLimbs intertwine, with whisky breath, in rites of splendor, as ancient as, the forest-fawn….”

There are so many wonderful sad stanzas in “The Ninth Garden (9 vs The Garden of Night) “My step falters in the garden of night. I have not the strength left to fight.”The night is old: I scream, I scream. I am youth: I dream, I dream”I seek shelter in the beauty of night. I seek sanctuary by autumn orb’s light”A ribbon of wheat the moonlight paves. Illuminating the garden of forgotten graves” “Leaving behind her heart with mine. Buried in the box of pine.

There is a sleepcast poem (an audio/visual presentation) which includes lines such “I met a guru by chance, as one does at Kehena Beach…he wore flowing robes & flowers & told me Shiva was the god of both marijuana & tobacco”

Please read more about James and his book “Sunset in Rome” with Alien Buddha Press and please purchase yourself a copy of a very unique style of writers out there. James has got the spirit of many writers flowing inside his blood.

James Schwartz is a poet, slam performer and author of various collections including “The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay & Amish in America” (available on Kindle 2011), PUnatic (Writing Knights Press, 2019) & Motor City Mix (Alien Buddha Press 2022).

on twitter James can be found under @queeraspoetry for a follow.

Poetry & Video links by James Schwartz

by James Schwartz

Summer Mix 2022

Detroit description:

73 degrees on a late June night,

I sit above the street,

On the balcony,

Catching the breeze,

With the fluttering Ukraine flag, 

Above the bricks, 

With my tablet open to YouTube 

Playing Detroit Motown, 

Best of 90s Trance, 

Detroit techno,

Lana Del Rey, 


watching the starry sky 


traffic on John R. 

Some hot cars, 

Northbound to 7 Mile, 

Southbound to 6 Mile, 

This is Motor City baby, 

He says see you around bro,

we fistbump,

He Leaves me to,

Thoughts on far away cityscapes, 

& men that left, 

 I see,

My first firefly of the season,

Glowing in the foreground,

At the same time,

A plane in the background,

Makes its descent across the city... 

Bio: James Schwartz is a poem, slam performer and author of various poetry collections including The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America (Kindle, 2011), Punatic (Writing Knights Press, 2019) & most recently Motor City mix (Alien Buddha Press, 2022)


3 Poems by James Schwartz


I watched a documentary film on the rise & fall of Detroit,
& the automotive industry here.
I say here in Detroit because I
Stay here in the Motor City, 
On John R close to 7 Mile,
Everyday I hop on the #23,
Or #4 bus to head downtown 
To work,
Reading wisdom tagged,
On the crumbling brick walls,
Still standing in the winter winds...

I watched a brick masonry tutorial on YouTube,
& remembered, 
My Amish father was a mason for a period,
His brick & mortar also still standing.
Although he has departed,
From his earthly work,
Leaving behind,
Red bricks shaping,
An apartment building,
On Lafayette street,
Several hours southwest,
Of the barren cityscape,
Flashing before my eyes,
On the Hamilton bus... 

Rivers (sonnet)

Lay his hands upon my hardworking own.
Kiss my painted lips with a warrior's rue.
Entangled tongues, restless lungs, gasp, groan.
As mystery of history dawns true.
I loved him at first stare and first silence.
As mere minutes later he took me down.
Killing, filling with the sweetest violence.
Feeling the music though there was no sound.
Glazed eyes gazed amazed at praised flesh and bone.
Worshipful raptures wrapped in regal hush.
Going before God of Ganymedes' throne.
The rush of lust in spring forests lie lush.
In conquered land by embrace and in haste.
Revealed reveries and rivers to taste.

*EXCERPT from "The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America" (Kindle, 2011)

Kalapana Meditation

"Only a Pompeii and a Herculaneum were needed at the foot of Kīlauea to make the story of the eruption immortal." 
- Mark Twain, "Roughing It"

We hike over the miles of moonlit lava rocks, to the base of the volcano, the glowing crater above us. What are the odds of a girl from Brazil, Australia, California and a queer ex-Amish poet gathering at the Kalapana lava flow?
Nambe sings a spiritual song about creation and giving thanks. Molten lava flows around and beneath us, bursting through rocks and spilling into the rainy night.
On the way back I fall, Pele kissing me as a "kumu" later tells me. I carry a scar beneath my eye today.
We get lost on the way back, wandering for hours over the onyx landscape. A flashlight beams at us suddenly.
"I'm Nate the Great from Wisconsin but at the moment I'm not so great - I'm lost."
Nate the Great from Wisconsin joins our caravan as does a couple whose cell phones guide us to the road, well after midnight.
Nambe holds my hand the entire way. Nate is reunited with his friends and we walk the road back together.

Back to the moments at the flow, huddled near the lava's warmth against the cold rain. Back to Nambe's song. Back to the fiery streams.
I sit by the girls, watching the embers glow. The moonlight is gone, with only the alchemy of Pele...

*EXCERPT from "Punatic" (Writing Knights Press, 2019) 

Bio: James Schwartz is a poem, slam performer and author of various poetry collections including The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America (Kindle, 2011), Punatic (Writing Knights Press, 2019) & most recently Motor City mix (Alien Buddha Press, 2022) @queeraspoetry