Jan Steckel

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777 books | 2,341 friends

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Jan Steckel

Goodreads Author

in Boston, Massachusets, The United States


Julia Vinograd (The Berkeley Bubble Lady); Sharon Olds; Kim Addonizio; ...more

Member Since
September 2008


Jan Steckel is an Oakland, California writer, a Harvard- and Yale-trained former pediatrician (now retired due to an acquired physical disability), and an activist for bisexual and disability rights. Her latest poetry book Like Flesh Covers Bone (Zeitgeist Press, 2018) was a finalist for poetry in the Bi Book Awards. Her first full-length poetry book, The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011), won a 2012 Lambda Literary Award. Her poetry chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) won the Rainbow Award for lesbian and bisexual poetry. Her poetry books are available on Amazon and through the publisher at www.zeitgeist-press.com. Her fiction chapbook Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) won the 2008 Gertrude Press Fiction Chapb ...more

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Popular Answered Questions

Jan Steckel I recently finished a collection of short stories called GHOSTS AND OCEANS. I'm busy now looking for an indie publisher for it, preferably with some q…moreI recently finished a collection of short stories called GHOSTS AND OCEANS. I'm busy now looking for an indie publisher for it, preferably with some queer cred (many of the stories are queer-themed) and national distribution.

I'm in the process of putting together my second full-length poetry manuscript, currently titled THE SEA THAT SOMETIMES FRIGHTENED US. I've picked out about 60 poems and have got 50 of them published in various periodicals, so it's time to work on the the order, format a manuscript, and start sending it out. I really love the publisher who put out my first two poetry books, Zeitgeist Press, but unfortunately they don't have national distribution, which I feel I need at this stage. I'll probably never again get the kind of personal editorial attention I got from Bruce Isaacson, owner of Zeitgeist Press, for which I'm exceedingly grateful!(less)
Jan Steckel Thanks for a great question, Paige. Connecting with other bisexual people has certainly helped my work. Bi folk want to see ourselves in literature. M…moreThanks for a great question, Paige. Connecting with other bisexual people has certainly helped my work. Bi folk want to see ourselves in literature. My new short fiction collection, GHOSTS AND OCEANS, has several bi characters. I'll emphasize that when promoting the book to bi readers. My new poetry manuscript THE SEA THAT SOMETIMES FRIGHTENED US only has about 10% poems on bi themes. Since unfortunately many writers who are bi don't feel safe putting their "bi" work out in public yet, that's still a lot of bi for the buck/book.(less)
Average rating: 4.21 · 355 ratings · 63 reviews · 10 distinct works
Getting Bi: Voices of Bisex...

3.93 avg rating — 263 ratings — published 2005 — 3 editions
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The Horizontal Poet

4.37 avg rating — 35 ratings — published 2011
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Vitality Magazine: Issue 1

4.50 avg rating — 32 ratings — published 2015 — 3 editions
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The Underwater Hospital

4.71 avg rating — 17 ratings — published 2006
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11/9: The Fall of American ...

4.65 avg rating — 17 ratings3 editions
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Vitality Promo Minizine (Vi...

4.11 avg rating — 18 ratings — published 2014
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Polychrome Ink Volume II

4.50 avg rating — 12 ratings — published 2015
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Like Flesh Covers Bone

4.80 avg rating — 10 ratings2 editions
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Polychrome Ink Volume I

4.67 avg rating — 9 ratings — published 2015
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Mixing Tracks

4.75 avg rating — 8 ratings — published 2009
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More books by Jan Steckel…

My New Web Site at jansteckel.com!

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 Read more of this blog post »
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Published on August 07, 2016 21:51 Tags: hack-the-hood, isaiah-harper, jan-steckel, max-gibson, mercedes-gibson, susan-mernit, web-site

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Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria E. Anzaldúa
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Democracy of Fire by Susan Cohen
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Susan Cohen writes timeless poems that capture the zeitgeist.
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Chemistry by Weike Wang
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Joan Is Okay by Weike Wang
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This voice-driven book narrated by a quirky, almost autism-spectrum female Chinese-American doctor eerily echos many of the experiences of my closest friend, who is a female Taiwanese-American doctor. I really liked it, and I want to read others by t ...more
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Illegal by Eoin Colfer
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Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
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Topics Mentioning This Author

topics posts views last activity  
The History Book ...: JIMMY'S (from Chichester) 50 BOOKS READ IN 2015 149 157 Mar 09, 2016 01:29PM  
Queereaders: List of authors for future chats 4 161 Apr 14, 2017 02:13PM  
Queereaders: * Author members 73 710 Feb 05, 2023 12:26PM  
Robert Bolt
“Thomas More: ...And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned around on you--where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast--man's laws, not God's--and if you cut them down...d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.”
Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons

Mahatma Gandhi
“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Audre Lorde
“Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity for our existence. It forms the quality of light from which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.”
Audre Lorde

Lois McMaster Bujold
“everyone has their folding-point, Miles. Their mortal vulnerability. Some just keep it in a nonstandard location.”
Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign

Charles Bukowski
“alone with everybody

the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and them men drink too
and nobody finds the
but they keep
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than

there's no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular

nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else
Charles Bukowski, Love Is a Dog from Hell
tags: love

233 ¡ POETRY ! — 22348 members — last activity 9 hours, 45 min ago
No pretensions: just poetry. Stop by, recommend books, offer up poems (excerpted), tempt us, taunt us, tell us what to read and where to go (to read ...more
28172 Poetry Readers Challenge — 870 members — last activity Feb 04, 2023 01:19PM
Let's talk about poetry books. This group's members read poetry collections, with the goal of reviewing twenty in a year. C'mon. Do it. It's good for ...more
89684 EVERYTHING BI — 323 members — last activity Apr 09, 2022 11:13PM
A group for bisexuals and everything we're interested in. EVERYONE is welcome here though! We love variety after all. ...more
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A group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and supporters interested in fun and stimulating conversation about books, movies, art, ...more
136337 Bi Book Brigade — 39 members — last activity Feb 21, 2017 12:06PM
A reading group for bisexual people and literature. Vote for what we should read here: http://www.allourideas.org/bibooks
132 Guilty Pleasures — 594 members — last activity Apr 20, 2016 12:03PM
Forum for discussing/recommending queer texts, open to the idea that the definition of "queer" is still in process. Interests in all genres, fiction a ...more
2467 GLBT Book Club — 268 members — last activity Nov 18, 2022 11:06AM
A group of readers and writers who are part of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning or Ally community. Share your fav ...more
16692 lesbian-writers — 38 members — last activity Jan 01, 2018 01:56AM
a virtual community of lesbian and bisexual women writers
25x33 queer lit — 65 members — last activity May 03, 2016 03:19PM
all things queer!
7814 Thomas Pynchon — 327 members — last activity Apr 26, 2022 08:16PM
This is a group for Thomas Pynchon readers, whether casual or fanatical. What's your favourite Pynchon book? What's your favourite Pynchon story? I've ...more
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Comments (showing 1-30)    post a comment »
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message 30: by Mathew

Mathew Babaoye And thank you for the add! Us bay area writers gotta stick together, haha.

message 29: by Jan

Jan Oh, thanks so much, Kerri!!! Did you see it on Tumblr? I was really grateful to Bisexual Books for posting a link to the poem in the online journal poeticdiversity.

message 28: by Jan

Jan Thanks so much, Anna! Yes, I'd still love it if my publisher would put my books into ebook format, but unfortunately they're not available that way yet. However, I'm submitting my next book, a collection of short stories, to publishers with national distribution who also do ebooks, so hopefully something of mine will be available in that format soon. Thanks for asking!

Anna (Bananas) I did a double take. Hey, don't I know her? Yeah, I do.

Anna (Bananas) I saw your poem in the Goodreads newsletter recently. Very cool :)
Are you still looking into putting your books in ebook format?

message 25: by Jan

Jan Virginia wrote: "Vivre la literature! I've always loved Alice Munro's short stories and precise, warm imagery. So glad she won the Nobel Prize in Literature!"

I've a book of short stories around of hers I've been waiting to read. Will have to celebrate by starting it.

Virginia Vivre la literature! I've always loved Alice Munro's short stories and precise, warm imagery. So glad she won the Nobel Prize in Literature!

message 23: by Robin

Robin Craig Clark Hello Jan, thank you for being my friend.
Peace and happiness be with you,

Virginia The movie with the excellent actor Elijah ? is a must see, also!

Virginia Thanks for the lit recommendations, Jan! The only metaphor I can come up with today is that the prep the doctor said would taste a bit like a glass of sweet orangeade tasted more like a titer of formaldahyde! What more does modern medicine have in store for us? :)

message 20: by Jan

Jan Hi Ginny,
I love her work,, and Andre herself too. Hopefully we'll be able to get a little more of her writing out there in the world someday. So glad you're enjoying it as much as I do.
How are you feeling these days?

Virginia Hi, Jan! I cannot get enough of Andre's poetry; it's so chock full of joyful mischief with constant references to mythology and love of life that I miss her more than ever! I think she could have won the Pulitzer had she survived. I had no idea she battled cancer from such an early age along with an incestuous father;.;.;.;.;.what an incandescent, brave, brilliant soul! I love her!

message 18: by Jan

Jan Thanks, Ginny! Best of luck to you on your book and your film. I'm just trying to get through my activities of daily living, get the old dishwasher and bed off to the Salvation Army, and go to a reading tonight that my publisher's doing with his son in Berkeley. Enjoy Santa Barbara!

Virginia Suzanne has thrown herself into her work (poetry and as an administrator with Pacifica); she's very determined. She meant Latinos in general. I couldn't live without Emiliano :) He's very macho but more maternal than macho. He grew up cleaning houses with his mom and helping raise his younger siblings. It's a different culture! We (you and me)could have written THE CORRECTIONS. Very HOT today; I'm trying to finalize my book and my film; the film has hit a rough patch - taped over doorknobs of all things! Enjoy SF!!!

message 16: by Jan

Jan So glad you and Suzanne got to go out to the movies together! Sorry Suzanne is saddened. Too bad about not wanting to date Latinos. Did she mean Latinos in general, or only immigrants who weren't yet citizens and might have ulterior motives for dating her involving getting to stay in this country? Actually, that's none of my business, forget I asked. :)

I'm afraid I haven't been able to watch any Woody Allen movies since he left Mia for her teenage daughter. I'm sure they're still very good, though.

Virginia Saw FROM ROME WITH LOVE with Suzanne yesterday; it was hysterically funny in most parts, but Alec Baldwin and Roberto Begnigni (sp?), especially the former, were out of their element! Suzanne is nursing a saddened heart over some rich devil; I told her to go to Las Conchas and find a warm-blooded Latino, but she won't date them. So I told her to avoid RICH MEN in general because she'll end up in a losing power struggle. I like sweet men with a sense of humility. Sort of Christ-like, that's all I ask :) Am working out last details of A TOUCH OF THE DEVIL with my cinematographer, Max Margolin; his dad lives in SB and was on the soaps in Jollywood.

message 14: by Jan

Jan Virginia, I heard about the open mic you guys had to raise money for Andre. I was so touched. Santa Barbara poets take care of their own! What a great community you all have created.

Virginia Sounds like a good read! Andre Levi, our delightful Zone poet, who also works at the Karpeles, has been diagnosed with a melanoma. Suzanne is hosting an open mic to raise money for her treatment, whch she has already started. Obamacare now! Suzanne and I are going to see Woody's latest film. We can't wait!

message 12: by Jan

Jan Virginia wrote: "I read all kinds of books. My current favorite is DRIFT by Rachael Maddow, the fab news commentator on MSNBC. As women, we need to speak seriously and knowledgeably about politics as they affect ..."

I'll have to see if I can borrow my mom's copy of Drift next time I'm down there, Virginia. I think I bought it for her last time I was down as an early Mother's Day present.

message 11: by Jan

Jan Kate wrote: "Thanks, Jan! Is your book available on Amazon? I just added it to my to-read. "

Hi Kate! So nice to hear from you. All of Zeitgeist Press's books will be on Amazon eventually, but right now you can only buy it from the publisher at http://www.zeitgeist-press.com or from me. It's also available at The Laurel Bookstore in Oakland, Expressions Gallery in Berkeley, the Beat Museum in San Francisco, Chaucer's Books in Santa Barbara, and the San Francisco Public Library.

To order a signed copy just send $14 + $2 shipping to me at Jan Steckel/PO Box 18797/Oakland, CA 94619. This week only, through May 11, shipping is FREE as I raise money for my trip to NYC for the Lambda Literary Awards Ceremony and Bi Lines reading. You can also order by PayPal (for $14 now or $16 after May 11) at Jmsteckel at aol dot com.

Thanks for your interest, Kate!

Virginia I read all kinds of books. My current favorite is DRIFT by Rachael Maddow, the fab news commentator on MSNBC. As women, we need to speak seriously and knowledgeably about politics as they affect all of us! For me, poetry is a marvellous luxury allowed by freedom of speech, especially bidyke poetry!

message 9: by Jan

Jan Congratulations on your normal CT, Ginny! That's wonderful news! Calloo, Callay!

I love early Neruda, before he became the state poet, and I love Lorca!

Virginia What about Proust? And Sommerset Maughsm? Flaubert? The classics? Neruda? Lorca? They're my favorites! I had a normal CT scan!!! Yea!

message 7: by Jan

Jan Thank you, Virginia and Noran!!! Noran, I think the great used bookstore you mentioned near the Grand Lake Theater was Walden Pond Books. It's still there. I lived in the neighborhood of the Grand Lake Theater for a couple of years. Virginia, I'm so glad you enjoyed THE HORIZONTAL POET! Thanks so much for your interest. Looking forward to seeing you in April!

Virginia Your HORIZONTAL POET was a delight and a revelation, making my life richer by a league or two! I tried to respond via e-mail, but apparently this is the only way I can get through to you, you incredible liver of life!!To the hilt. I've also written NEVER MARRY IN MOROCCO under the pen name Virginia Dale. :)

message 5: by Noran

Noran Miss Pumkin I have been to both independent bookstores that sell your books! Have not been to California in 8 years though. I stayed with a family in Oakland about 15-18 years ago. Love the architecture of4 the city and the park. The Grand Theater was amazing . Great used bookstore near there.

message 4: by Noran

Noran Miss Pumkin Hope you holidays are joyous for you and your loved ones! Thanks for the charming note and exchange of friendship.

message 3: by Jan

Jan Whitebeard, I love that you love all those old children's classics that I loved. My grandparents had a friend who was an editor at Grossett (sp?) and Dunlap. Every time he came over he'd have half a dozen new lovely hardback editions for me to read.

Whitebeard Books We not only have a ton of books in common, but our ratings are very similar when one considers that many of the 5 star books you have are 4's for me but are truly more like 4.5 to 4.75 for me. I'd really prefer a 100 point system to be more accurate in my evaluations. Too much distance between a 3 and a 4 and a 5! Don't you think?

message 1: by Kate

Kate Thanks, Jan! Is your book available on Amazon? I just added it to my to-read.

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