James Schwartz [queeraspoetry]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I can remember Dad reading me 'Robinson Crusoe' as a child and begging him to read more chapters. Dickens, Kipling. I had a love of books and reading from day one. Writing followed. I read all the classics in my teens and twenties.
My old friend April Hoskins and I used to write together, an early learning experience. April is a fantastic poet and first supporter of my poetry. Dad as well.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
LGBT poetry although in 2011 most of my poetry has been political.
The Literary Party: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0057AHPY2/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_bS1Qob0T00YM9
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Lying in bed, notebook on knees, coffee at hand. Usually night is my productive time although early, early morning is good too.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
I read everything. Fiction, plays. I recently read novels by Christopher Rice and James W. Hall. The Masters. Shakespeare, Milton, Keats, Byron, Gertrude Stein. Oscar Wilde breaks my heart. Modern gay poetry and literature i.e. Edward Field, Lee Lynch. 'Genius' by Harold Bloom was a highlight.
'Literary Sleaze' was inspired by Stein's 'Sacred Emily' http://yfrog.com/7ftoxz
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Conflict? Gay and Amish is an example. I can recall writing early poems in journals. I found one when I was eighteen at a gay friend's house, trying on drag. I never seemed to fit in anywhere, thank God! I wanted to surround myself with creative people which I do today. I'm friends with actors, artists, writers and poets. Many drag queens!
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I find comedy easier to write from a first person POV but no preference.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Auden, Cavafy, Shakespeare, Willa Cather, Truman Capote, Hart Crane, Arthur Rimbaud. All favorites. I'm currently enthralled by Guillaume Apollinaire and Tomas Tranströmer.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
Myself. I love being an out and proud gay man, true to myself. I used to try to make everyone else happy but you learn you can only please yourself.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Of course and yes. I never want to stop growing and learning.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I remember my 8th grade teacher tearfully presenting me with a writing award and telling me I would do great things. Sweet. I know writers for and against competitions and I've only done one. I was a finalist in the 2009 Stonewall Poetry contest.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Occasionally I will run a piece by a friend. Before my Dad's 2009 passing I might recite a poem in front of him before an open mic night. Dad would say 'go get 'em' as I sailed out the door.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I found my voice writing sonnets. Writing traditional forms taught me how to write period.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I write daily in a journal and I blog. Every year I try to map out what to write. 'The Literary Party' collects the best of my work from 2005-2010.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Coffee. Trance or ambient music. I love Deadmau5.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I have to dream over it first, I write with black pen in a notebook then rewrite polish, type.
What has been your experience with publishers?
Working with inGroup Press an indie LGBT press has been wonderful. http://www.ingrouppress.com/
What are you working on now?
I published political poetry with LGBT Asylum News, Poetry 24 and Politiku. Last night I read at This is Fire! www.thisisfire.com joking Twitter is loving people you don't know and Facebook hating people you do know, all good fun. I'm a political animal by nature although I would never run for any office. How boring! I love keeping up with the literary world on Twitter and frequently tweet @queeraspoetry.
I just made my theater debut in The Rocky Horror Show. A really cool cast at the local, historic Riviera Theatre which opened in 1925. Now that 'The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America' is out I need to incubate, map out 2012 but again I write for myself.
So far @7x20 has scheduled a poem, short story for January, February 2012 and Rocky Horror 2012. Starting book #2!
Three Rivers, Michigan USA