Jan Steckel's Blog: Horizontal Poet Sings Bidyke Blues

August 7, 2016

I was lucky enough to be chosen by the Oakland nonprofit Hack the Hood to have a new writing and editing web site built by a high school student web developer being trained in Hack the Hood’s summer boot camp. It's now live at

​From Hack the Hood’s website: “Hack the Hood is an award-winning non-profit that introduces low-income youth of color to careers in tech by hiring and training them to build websites for real small businesses in their own communities. During 6-week ‘Bootcamps,’ young people gain valuable hands-on experience, build a portfolio, and learn about opportunities in the tech industry, as well as building critical technical, leadership, entrepreneurship, and life skills with mentorship from staff and tech professionals working in the field.”

A huge thank you to my web developer Isaiah Harper and to Mercedes Gibson, Max Gibson, Daniel, Dara, Ricardo, and the rest of the staff at Hack the Hood (and its founder Susan Mernit) for giving me this beautiful site and for letting me work with you. Thank you for helping make Oakland such a vibrant place. You totally rock.
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Published on August 07, 2016 21:51 • 24 views • Tags: hack-the-hood, isaiah-harper, jan-steckel, max-gibson, mercedes-gibson, susan-mernit, web-site

May 29, 2016

My poem "Doomed Romance," which first appeared in The East Bay Review, is now a finalist in this month's Goodreads Newsletter Poetry Contest. You can vote for your favorite poem at

You might have to join the ¡Poetry! group in order to vote, if you're not already a member. The contest, which is held monthly, accepts previously published as well as new poems.

I'll be reading with editors and contributors to The East Bay Review at Oakland's Beast Crawl on July 16, 2016, at 6:30 PM at SomaR Bar, 1727 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, CA, USA. See https://www.facebook.com/events/12089... for details.
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Published on May 29, 2016 22:04 • 33 views • Tags: beast-crawl, goodreads-newsletter, jan-steckel, poetry-contest, the-east-bay-review

March 31, 2016

I'm so thrilled and honored that my poem "Ride a Red Horse" (about whisky distilling, among other things) is among this month's group of finalists for the Goodreads Newsletter Poetry Contest. One of my favorites is actually one of the honorable mentions, "Stolen from my Father's Room" by my friend Ko. Please go and vote for your favorite. (You may have to join the Poetry! group to vote if you're not already a member.) There are some really fine poems there this month.
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Published on March 31, 2016 14:53 • 32 views • Tags: goodreads-newsletter, jan-steckel, poetry-contest, ride-a-red-horse

February 16, 2016

Honored to have poems in the new anthology Veils, Halos and Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women edited by Charles Ades Fishman and Smita Sahay!

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Published on February 16, 2016 17:38 • 18 views • Tags: anthology, charles-ades-fishman, poetry, smita-sahay, women

December 29, 2014

My poem "The Fall," which recently appeared in The New Verse News, is now a finalist in the Goodreads Newsletter Poetry Contest at https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

If you are a member of the ¡Poetry! group, or if you join it, you can vote in this month's contest.

This is the first time one of my poems has been ahead in the running for this monthly contest! I'm excited and honored.
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Published on December 29, 2014 00:12 • 82 views • Tags: goodreads-newsletter, jan-steckel, poetry-contest, the-fall

May 21, 2014

Abblett's cover illustration

Gnomic, luminous and witty, Marie Lecrivain's new poetry book The Virtual Tablet of Irma Tre is an unusually unified work based on the author’s experience of self-transformation. Lecrivain masterfully employs the language of alchemy to explore in various poetic forms the evolution of the self and the cosmos. Ablett’s cover illustration paired with Lecrivain’s photographs burnish the lambent text.

Don't just take my word for it, though. Take those of poet Gillian Prew, author of A Wound's Sound, In the Broken Things, Throats Full of Graves, and Disconnections:

“There has always been a broad awareness in alchemy that tended to view the lab work as a metaphor for the subtle body and, more purely, the spirit - hence the natural similarities between alchemy and poetry. And, indeed, alchemical poetry is not new. John Donne used many alchemical and scientific images and references in his work. Although the original object of alchemy was to produce gold from base metals, the discipline was later spiritualized to that of becoming transformed oneself by the processes which were developed in the laboratory for transmuting elements. Like Blake, Lecrivain’s poems use the symbols of alchemy to point to the breaking down of destructive systems and opening the way to transformation to the new age (Solvé et Coagula).”

You can buy a signed copy of the the book directly from the author via the exquisite indie publisher Edgar and Lenore's Publishing House, or you can purchase one on Amazon.

Marie Lecrivain is the editor-publisher of poeticdiversity: the litzine of Los Angeles, a photographer, and a writer-in-residence at her apartment. Her work has appeared in various journals, including Edgar Allen Poet Journal, Maitenant, A New Ulster, Spillway, The Los Angeles Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, and others. She’s the author of The Virtual Tablet of Irma Tre (© 2014 Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House), Love Poems…Yes… REALLY… Love Poems (© 2013 Sybaritic Press), and she’s the editor of the anthology Near Kin: Words and Art inspired by Octavia E. Butler (© 2014 Sybaritic Press). Her avocations include alchemy, alternate modes of transportation, H.P. Lovecraft, Vincent Price, steampunk accessories, and the letter “S."

Marie Lecrivain

If you live in Southern California in the U.S.A. and want to meet this remarkable woman, you can hear her read from her new book at any of the following readings in the Los Angeles area:

6/21/14, 3 P.M., as part of the Three Rooms Press Maitenant launch

6/28/14, 3 P.M., at the Open Mic at the Encino Library

8/30/14, 3 P.M., at the Santa Catalina Library in Pasadena

9/28/14, 3 P.M., at Beyond Baroque in Venice at Wyatt Underwood's Nebraska Girls Reading
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Published on May 21, 2014 23:53 • 310 views • Tags: alchemy, kevin-abblett, marie-lecrivain, poetry, the-virtual-tablet-of-irma-tre

February 15, 2014

I'm honored to have my prose poem "A Chessboard Knight on Pleasure Bent" in the current issue of Blue Fifth Review, edited by Sam Rasnake and Michelle Elvy. It's the second poem on the page, appearing with poems by Allison Grayhurst, Doug Holder, Helen Moat and Erica Lee Braverman.
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Published on February 15, 2014 21:39 • 84 views • Tags: blue-fifth-review, jan-steckel, michelle-elvy, prose-poem, sam-rasnake

February 12, 2014

It's been a while! Missed you all. Wanted to tell you about a new project of which I'm a small part:

Kickstarter Campaign to Publish Best Bisexual Short Stories

The aim is to help create a literature of bisexual characters so that bi young people have a place to read about people like themselves. The anthology is edited by Sheela Lambert, president of the Bisexual Writers Association. It will be published by Circlet Press. It includes stories by Ann Herendeen, Katherine V. Forrest, Jane Rule, Cecilia Tan, me, and others.

Great prizes are available for Kickstarter donations!
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Published on February 12, 2014 13:41 • 113 views • Tags: anthologies, best-bisexual-short-stories, bisexual, cecilia-tan, jan-steckel, sheela-lambert, short-stories

November 25, 2013

Gabriela Mistral was the pseudonym of Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, a Chilean poet, who was the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1945. She was bisexual. Here is a poem of Mistral's that she dedicated to the man who translated her poems from Spanish to French. Below it is my translation of her poem to English.

La extranjera

A Francis de Miomandre

Habla con dejo de sus mares bárbaros,
con no sé qué algas y no sé qué arenas;
reza oración a dios sin bulto y peso,
envejecida como si muriera.
En huerto nuestro que nos hizo extraño,
ha puesto cactus y zarpadas hierbas.

Alienta del resuello del desierto
y ha amado con pasión de que blanquea,
que nunca cuenta y que si nos contase
sería como el mapa de otra estrella.

Vivirá entre nosotros ochenta años,
pero siempre será como si llega,
hablando lengua que jadea y gime
y que le entienden sólo bestezuelas.
Y va a morirse en medio de nosotros,
en una noche en la que más padezca,
con sólo su destino por almohada,
de una muerte callada y extranjera.

The Stranger

To Francisco de Miomandre

She speaks with a feel of her savage seas
with I don’t know what seaweeds and sands;
she prays to a formless, weightless God,
aged as if she were dying.
In our garden that she made alien to us,
she has planted cactus and rough herbs.
She breathes life from the desert’s wind,
and she has loved with a whitening passion
she never speaks of, for if she were to tell
it would be like the map of another star.
She will live among us eighty years,
yet always as if just arrived,
speaking a tongue that pants and whines
and that only the little beasts understand.
And she will die here in our midst
one night of utmost suffering,
with only her fate as a pillow,
a quiet and foreign death.
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Published on November 25, 2013 20:05 • 116 views • Tags: bisexual, bisexual-poets, gabriela-mistral, jan-steckel, la-extranjera, poetry, the-stranger

November 13, 2013

I'm reading Sunday, 11/24/13 2-4 PM at the Northern California Reunion of the Whitman-Stein Poetry Festival hosted by Ron Alexander at AWE GALLERY, 678 Portola Drive, San Francisco, CA next to the purple church. These eight poets will each read a poem from a well-known LGBT poet and a few poems of our own: Jan Steckel, Kit Kennedy, Tobey Kaplan, Glen Ingersoll, Marc Hofstadter, Giovanna Capone, Paul Fericano, and Nixson Borah. Hope to see some of you there!
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Published on November 13, 2013 00:03 • 66 views • Tags: lgbt, poetry, san-francisco

Horizontal Poet Sings Bidyke Blues

Jan Steckel
Bidyke writer and disabled former pediatrician Jan Steckel writes about poetry, fiction, sexuality, doctoring, poverty, and what it feels like to remember what kind of socks everyone at her readings w ...more
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