About Joanne

Joanne Jagoda
Joanne Jagoda



Joanne Jagoda is a longtime resident of the Oakland hills. She was born in San Francisco in 1950, a true baby boomer and a proud first generation American. Joanne’s parents fled Nazi Germany and met in San Francisco. Joanne grew up in the Richmond district near Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach.

Her writing is informed by being a “San Francisco girl.” She has strong memories of going “downtown” with her mother wearing white gloves and always a dress and Sunday afternoons at Playland and the Japanese Tea Garden. Reared in neighborhood schools, Joanne graduated from Washington High School and headed to UC Berkeley where she was a history major. While a college student, she met her future husband Jeff, and it only took a few months for them to decide to get married. They have been married for forty nine years and will celebrate their 50th in 2021. They raised three daughters and are now enjoying their seven grandchildren.


Joanne retired in 2009 after working in the family wholesale business for a number of years and a nine year stint as an administrative director for a synagogue. She had also worked as a volunteer for Jewish organizations taking on various leadership positions including serving as the first woman president of her synagogue. She was looking for something completely new and challenging, found a writing class and decided to give it a try. That inspiring workshop in the Amherst method, Lakeshore Writers, facilitated by Teresa Burns Gunther, launched Joanne on an unexpected creative writing trajectory. Besides taking Teresa’s workshops a number of times, Joanne has worked with Linda Schreyer(of Los Angeles) enjoying her on-line Boot Camps. She has completed a number of the Writer’s Studio (out of New York) on-line classes and has taken every Olli class offered on writing including non fiction essay, children’s literature, memoir, screenwriting and several poetry classes.


Her short stories, poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared on-line and in numerous print anthologies including Persimmon Tree Magazine, Gemini magazine, Dreamers Magazine, Passager, Heat the Grease We’re Frying up Some Poetry, Is it Hot In Here Or Is it Just Me?,  and Still You, Poems of Illness and Healing. Her short stories have appeared in many Pure Slush Publications including: Happy, Notausgang (Emergency Exit) Real and Obit and in 2020 will appear in 100 Lives, which will feature a story about her dear friend, Ernie Hollander. Several of her poems were in the Poet’s Siddur, an anthology of poetry for Shabbat evening edited by Rick Lupert. Her poetry has been included in all the publications of the Downtown Oakland Senior Center, including Immersion, Tides and Writing on the Edge. She has also had her poetry and short stories in several editions of Poetica Magazine, Contemporary Jewish Writing.

Joanne’s essays have appeared in Project Healthy Love (Riza Press), Better After 50, California Northern, Grand magazine, River Poets Journal: The Immigrants. Joanne received a Pushcart Prize nomination for her poem, “Mr. Avocado Man” and has won a number of contests including the Benicia Love Poetry contest and the Dreamquest contest, and an Honorable Mention for literary fiction in a Writer’s Digest contest.

Joanne’s poem, The “Cuervo Gold and Clorox Blues” about the Coronavirus was recently featured on the editorial page of the San Francisco Chronicle. 

A note about the photos on this site: The scenic photographs are by Myron Bernstein, a talented photographer, who passed away in 2019. His photographs capture some of the most iconic scenes of San Francisco and Northern California. Myron is the brother of Joanne Jagoda, and the photos are especially meaningful for Joanne. She is delighted to be able to share his work.

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