Patricia Roth Schwartz poet, memoirist, fiction writer, playwright, and editor, was born on October 12, 1946, in Charleston, West Virginia. She also has lived in Los Angeles, Connecticut, Massachusetts, including Boston, and New York State. Educated at Mount Holyoke College, Trinity College (CT) and Antioch/New England, she has worked as a psychotherapist in private practice and as an adjunct instructor of English and psychology at the community college level. Pat is widely published in small press journals including Nimrod, Clackamas Literary Review, South Carolina Review, Palo Alto Review, Iron Horse, and Blueline. Her full-length books are listed separately in this volume.
For several years Pat taught colleges course part-time to inmates at Cayuga Correctional Faculty in Moravia, New York, through the Inmate Higher Education Program (IHEP) of New York State (which was eventually eliminated.) From 2001 to 2015, she served as a volunteer inside Auburn Correctional Facility, Auburn, New York, conducting a weekly poetry workshop with inmates. In 2008 she was named their Volunteer of the Year. Pat has edited four published books of their work, listed separately in this volume. She is currently writing a memoir about her experiences as a prison volunteer.
Pat’s short plays have been given a number of staged readings in Auburn, Rochester, and Waterloo, New York.
In 2010 Pat was awarded two arts grants through the DEC(De-Centralization) Program of the New York State Council on the Arts: one grant for a Literary Arts Reading Series held at Fatzinger Hall of the Waterloo Library &Historical Society, and one for herself as an Individual Artist to offer readings from her work plus offering workshops throughout the Finger Lakes, co-sponsored by the Seneca County Arts Council. She frequently conducts writing workshops funded by Poets & Writers, Inc., throughout the Finger Lakes Library System, for Geneva Public Library, Phelps Arts Center, and other locations. Pat has offered programs for high schoolers through both The School Without Walls in Rochester and Geneva High School in Geneva, New York. She has also taught for The Writers & Books Literary Center in Rochester, New York.
In 2011, Pat and poet and publisher, Steve Tills, founded The Literary Guild of the Finger Lakes, a grass-roots organization dedicated to furthering creative expression through the arts. Joshua Mull serves as program coordinator.
In 2011 also, two of her works were selected to be part of, respectively, Poets’ Walk and Story Walk in Rochester, the pieces engraved into a walkway as well as recorded onto an audio tour.
Currently Pat lives with her partner Sandy Zohari and their dog Rosie on their thirty-five acre property, Sage-Thyme Haven, in the Finger Lakes Region of New York state. Here amidst perennial, rock, and herb gardens, birds and wild creatures, in summer the Great Blue heron fly over daily and all year Canadian geese soar en masse. She also enjoys cooking, making collage art, photography, building fairy houses, film, books, theatre, walking, kayaking, and world travel–having been to Europe and the British Isles, Macchu Pichu Peru, Costa Rica, the Galapagos Islands, Israel and Jordan, Cambodia and Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand, Hawai’i, Alaska, Iceland, ports along the Mediterranean, Istanbul, and Venice.
Teaching: Pat conducts workshops for The Writers & Books Literary Center, Inc., in Rochester, and many other organizations, including Waterloo Library & Historical Society, Geneva Public Library and The Phelps Arts Center. She often conducts workshops for writers’ groups funded by Poets & Writers, Inc. She founded and volunteers as the sole facilitator for the Poetry Workshop in Auburn Correctional Facility, a maximum security men’s prison in Auburn, NY, which has been meeting since summer 2001. Previously Schwartz worked part-time in the Inmate Higher Education Program (IHEP) at Cayuga Correctional Facility in Moravia NY, teaching college classes, until the program was cut by the state of New York. In June of 2008 she was designated “Volunteer of the Year” at Auburn Correctional. She has edited and had published four books by inmate poets which are listed below and offered for sale under My Books.
Published in Journals: Her work has been published in Olive Trees, The Lyric, Sojourner, Plainswoman, The Beloit Fiction Journal, The Creative Woman, Backbone, The Distillery, Blueline, Confrontation, Confluence, Phantasmagoria, Exit-On Line, The Women’s Review of Books, Nimrod, Clackamas Literary Review, Litchfield Review, Lullwater Review, Iron Horse, Friendly Women: a Quaker Journal, Pinnacle Hill Review, South Carolina Review, Cape Rock, Square Lake, Gargoyle, Le Mot Juste, Sow’s Ear, Madison Review, Palo Alto Review, HeartLodge, Ellipsis, Sea Stories, The Canadian Arachnologist, Off the Coast, Chaffin, Clare, The Homestead Review, and Stone Canoe. Her creative non-fiction has been published in The Big Brick Review.
Published in Anthologies: Her poems have also appeared in the following anthologies: Rochester Poets for Peace 2000; Summer Songs; In a Mirror: Women on Women; Common Intuitions: Poems on Women; In the Arms of Words: Poets for Disaster Relief; and The Dire Elegies: 59 Poets Write on Endangered Species; Birdsong: ImageOut anthology 2016, and in the series Poets Speak in the volumes Trumped!, Hers, and others. She has also appeared each year for over ten years in Le Mot Juste, the yearly anthology for the Just Poets organization in Rochester, New York.
Awards: Schwartz was selected as a Finalist for the Willamette Poetry Award from Clackamas for the 2004 Fall/Winter Issue, and as a Finalist in both the Sow’s Ear 2004 Poetry Contest and Rochester’s ImageOut poetry contests for 2002 and 2003. She received 2nd place in Heart Lodge’s 2006 contest.
Readings: Pat appears frequently in reading series, at coffeehouses, bookstores, festivals, and other venues. She has been featured four times in the Genesee Reading Series in Rochester. She founded and co-coordinated a Summer Poetry Festival for The Gell Center of Writers & Books in Bristol, NY, held for three years, plus a poetry reading series at Fairport Coffee House, Fairport, NY. In March 2008, she was one of five NY state women poets selected to read from their own work in conjunction with pieces by women composers presented during the “Women in Music Festival” at The Eastman School of Music in Rochester. In 2010 Pat was awarded a grant from the NY State Council on the Arts as an Individual Artist to offer five performances of her work in various venues in the Finger Lakes region. She has read twice for the “Authors Aloud” series at The Little Theater Cafe in Rochester, and will appear in fall of 2017 in the “word revisited” series at The Cayuga Museum’s Theater Mack in Auburn, New York.
Book-Length Publications: Her first volume of poetry, Hungers, was published in 1979 by The Blue Spruce Press, a collective of four women poets from the greater Hartford area in CT. Her volume of short fiction, The Names of the Moons of Mars, was published in 1989 by New Victoria Publishers and won a Lambda Literary Award.Her next full-length collection, Planting Bulbs in a Time of War, and Other Poems was published in 2005, her chapbook, Down the Middle with a Nickel: a Memoir of a West Virginia Childhood in 2007. A sequel to …Nickel, The La Brea Tar Pits Blues: a Memoir of a Los Angeles Adolescence in Poems and Short Lyric Prose, appeared in 2010. All these books are published by Foothills Publishing. In 2011, Blue Heron Publishing, an imprint of The Literary Guild of the Finger Lakes, a grass-roots organization founded by Pat and poet/publisher Steve Tills, came out with her volume, The Loneliness of Squash: poems, prose poems and short lyric prose.Her long-awaited full-length volume, The Crows of Copper John: a History of Auburn Prison in Poems, was released in late 2012 by Olive Trees, sold out, and was re-issued in 2017 by FootHills. Her most recent volumes are Charleston Girls: a Memoir in Poem of a West Virginia Childhood FootHills 2016), and Know Better: poems of resistance (locofo chapbooks 2017). Pat has also served as editor for four volumes of poems by inmates: Guerillas in the Mist, and Other Poems, by Michael Rhynes, 2007; “I’m a Lyrical Brother, and I Can Feel It in My Bones,” an anthology from the Inmates’ Poetry Workshop at Auburn Correctional Facility, 2010, both chapbooks; a full-length anthology, Doing Time to Cleanse My Mind: an Anthology of Inmates’ Poems from Auburn Correctional Facility, Auburn, NY, 2001-2010, co-edited by John Roche. In 2012, another full-length book, Exiting the Prism– Fade to Black…, by Jalil Muntaqim, currently in Attica, was issued. all these volumes are from Olive Trees Publishing, except Doing Time… which is from FootHills.
Theatre Performances Her one-act play, “Weeding for Isabelle,” based on her own family history, was given a staged reading through the Plays-In-Progress program of greater Rochester in June of 2008, and has been given several other staged readings since in Waterloo. Her ten-minute plays, “Odd Socks,” “Max Jail, Monday Nights,” and “Muffinland,” have been performed as staged readings in Waterloo and in Phelps. The performers have come from a group Pat started, The Sage-Thyme Players.A readers’ theater version of her full-length volume of poems, The Crows of Copper John: a History of Auburn Prison in Poems, has been performed twice: once at The Downstairs Caberet in Rochester and once at Auburn Public Theater.