Book Review: Jan Steckel’s “Like Flesh Covers Bone”

About the Book

Synopsis: A hundred pages of direct, uncompromising, and lyrical poetry filled with moving moments of intimacy, humor, love & loss.

Genre: Poetry

Date: December 2018

Publisher: Zeitgeist Press

ISBN: 978-1-940572-21-5

Purchase Link



I have been following Jan Steckel on social media for some time, so I was familiar with her poetry before reading Like Flesh Covers Bone. I’ve been delighted by many of her sharp observations of the world, sometimes optimistic and other times cynical. This new collection is one I am sure to read over and over, particularly a few of my favorites.

My top two are the titular poem, “Like Flesh Covers Bone,” and one called “Intersection.” In both cases, it is the way they reach into my soul and my personal experiences. The first knocked me emotionally flat the first time I read it. I gasped for breath, recalling my own first disillusionment as a newly graduated hospital nurse. The second had me nodding along with every line, feeling as though Steckel reached right into my heart and plucked out what was written there.

Every poem hits a high note, which is an accomplishment. Admittedly, I love poetry of all kinds, so I went into it with an already open mind. Even so, it’s rare that I am so drawn into the words that I don’t want to do anything except sit at the poet’s feet and bask in the beautiful lines. I couldn’t put it down.

I had the privilege of speaking with Steckel on the BiCast. I highly recommend listening and absorbing what she has to say about writing, life, and bisexuality. She reads a few of her poems, and it is a treasure to be able to hear them right from her lips.

There’s a little of everything in here: some relatable moments and feelings, political cynicism and activism, history lessons, heart-wrenching memories, and humor. What I always say with poetry is that not every verse is for every person, but in a collection everyone can find something. Reading through is worth it for every aha! moment, every instance of feeling seen and heard and understood.

And that, for me, is the heart of this book. As a writer, what I strive for is to create something that tells others, “You are not alone.” This is what Steckel has accomplished here, a work which reminds us that someone out there gets us, that what we feel is not wrong. These pages are like seeking a comforting hand in the dark and, once found, holding on for dear life. I challenge everyone reading to find themselves in at least one of the poems and meditate on the words.

Like Flesh Covers Bone is a book for any of the following people to enjoy: lovers of poetry; bisexual people; genderqueer and gender non-conforming people; readers who enjoy swearing in their poetry; anyone who would like to understand queerness better; humans.

For relatable moments, flashes of keen insight, and poetry at its finest, this gets 5/5 bi fives.

About the Author

Jan Steckel was a Harvard- and Yale-trained pediatrician who took care of Spanish-speaking children until chronic pain persuaded her to change professions to writer, poet and medical editor. She is an activist for bisexual and disability rights who lives in Oakland, California.

Her poetry book The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011) won a 2012 Lambda Literary Award. Her fiction chapbook Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) and poetry chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) also won awards. Her creative writing has appeared in Scholastic Magazine, Yale Medicine, Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. Her work won the Goodreads Newsletter Poetry Contest, a Zeiser Grant for Women Artists, the Jewel by the Bay Poetry Competition, Triplopia’s Best of the Best competition, and three Pushcart nominations.

Social Media

Like Flesh Covers Bone FB page | Jan’s Facebook Author page | Website | Twitter | InstagramTumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads | BiCast Interview



Bi Books: “Tales From Block E” with William Burleson

thebicast-logo-1440x1440Published April 28, 2017
Amy and Lynnette kick it up with Bill Burleson over his newest book “Tales From Block E’ Three interwoven stories about life in the  Minneapolis downtown district circa1979.

Bill also contributed to: Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men


(music provided by Honeybird & Rorie Kelly)
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Bi Books With DM Atkins of Fantastic Fiction Publishing

thebicast-logo-1440x1440Published April 1, 2016
Lynnette is excited to have DM Atkins of Fantastic Fiction Publishing.
They are also author of “Bisexual Women in the Twenty-First Century”
“Looking Queer: Body Image and Identity in Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender Communities”
“Lesbian Sex Scandals: Sexual Practices, Identities, and Politics”

DMAtkinsInterview_600SqD.M. Atkins is an author of both non-fiction and fiction. An anthropologist, Atkins has edited several anthologies on LGBT topics, including Looking Queer, Lesbian Sex Scandals, and Bisexual Women in the 21st Century and is the former editor of both Locus and Shadows Of… magazines


fanficFantastic Fiction Publishing is at
ForbiddenFiction is at

ForbiddenFiction On Facebook


Bisexual Women in the Twenty-First Century

Looking Queer: Body Image and Identity in Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender Communities

Looking Queer: Body Image and Identity in Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender Communities

Lesbian Sex Scandals: Sexual Practices, Identities, and Politics

Lesbian Sex Scandals: Sexual Practices, Identities, and Politics

Faewolf by D.M. Atkins & Chris Taylor is published by Circlet Press

FaewolfFaewolves, like werewolves, can walk among men. What happens when Kiya White Cloud, a young gay college student in Santa Cruz, wants one of these men enough to risk his heart–and his life? A paranormal m/m erotic romance

and new from DM Atkins

 Crossed Rose by D.M. Atkins
See at: a leather play party, Davey, a shy trans man, sees the woman of his dreams—Maria, the beautiful, brown-skinned woman in red. Davey wants her desperately enough to ask Papa, a stranger at the crossroads, for her heart. Papa’s instructions seem simple enough, but failing to follow them might cost Davey more than just his soul. (M/F, F/F/M)

Fiction is by D.M. Atkins at:

All non-fiction can be located under Dawn Atkins on Amazon at:

(music provided by Honeybird)
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Bi Book Club: My Zombie Boyfriend by Thea Strange

thebicast-logo-1440x1440Published June 15, 2015
Join us as we discuss the merits of dating the undead with the author of “My Zombie Boyfriend” Thea Strange.

Goodreads and Tumblr

my zombie facebookLinks:
My Zombie Boyfriend (The Undead Canadian Series Book 1)
Thea Strange (T Strange)


(music provided by Honeybird)

Interview With Samuel Archer

thebicast-logo-1440x1440Published June 9, 2015
We talk with Samuel Archer, a photographer and writer.A Philadelphia based bisexual trans man, about their upcoming project and book. Their thoughts on how to become an integrated out and proud bisexual community are discussed. And their vision for the deconstruction of body myths.
25200004Photo by Samuel Archer


(music provided by Honeybird)

Books Bi Us: Ron Suresha

thebicast-logo-1440x1440Published May 28, 2015
We discuss Ron’s new book “Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin: naughty, unexpurgated stories of the beloved wise fool from the Middle and Far East”

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin: Naughty, unexpurgated tales of the beloved wise fool from the Middle and Far East


(music provided by Honeybird)

Bi Book Awards 2015 With Sheela Lambert

thebicast-logo-1440x1440Published May 27, 2015
We speak with the director of Bi Book Awards Sheela Lambert on plans for this year.
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The Bi Writers Association

Bi Book Awards

(music provided by Honeybird)

My Zombie Boyfriend with Thea Strange

thebicast-logo-1440x1440Published April 28, 2015
Join us as we discuss the merits of dating the undead. With the author of “My Zombie Boyfriend” Thea Strange
my zombie facebook myzombieboyfriendcoverEdward Grey is a medical student by day, necromancer by night. He lives alone with the first zombie he ever raised, his childhood cat, Boo. Edward’s life is simple: studying medicine, training his necromantic powers with his mentor, Mariel, and having weekly dinners with his parents. When he finds a very attractive corpse in a park and brings it home to reanimate, he accidentally creates a sassy, free-willed zombie who believes Edward is the one who murdered him. 

Buy Here


(music provided by Honeybird)