Joanne Jagoda

b. 1950

Current City, State, Country

Oakland, California, USA

Birth City, State, Country

San Francisco, California, USA


After retiring, one inspiring writing workshop launched Joanne Jagoda of Oakland, California, on an unexpected writing trajectory. Her prize-winning poetry, short stories and creative nonfiction appear on-line and in numerous print anthologies and include a Pushcart Prize nomination. In 2022, Joanne received first place in the Gemini Open Poetry competition for her poem about her grandmother who perished in the Holocaust.  A number of her poems feature Jewish themes and reflect her strong Jewish background. Her first book of poetry My Runaway Hourglass, Seventy Poems Celebrating  Seventy Years, was conceived during the pandemic, (Poetica Publications, 2020). Joanne continues taking Bay Area and national writing workshops, enjoys Zumba and spoiling her seven grandchildren who call her Savta.

What is the relationship between Judaism and/or Jewish culture and your poetry?

My close relationship to Judaism is an intrinsic part of the poetry I write, whether it is reflections on the grandparents I never knew who perished in the Holocaust, or the stories of the resilient survivors I grew to love who attended my synagogue. These powerful emotional ties have strongly influenced my work. Also, my close connection to Israel where my daughter and her family live has prompted a number of poems I have published. My most recent poem From Brit to Bar Mitzvah was written on the occasion of my grandson’s recent Bar Mitzvah in Israel. One of my poems about the Sabbath, written for an anthology for Kabbalat Shabbat,  is read at many Shabbat tables. My sense of social justice, tikkun olam, is carried through in my writings when I write about homelessness and other current issues. In short, because I am immersed in a Jewish life, my poetry is as well.

Published Works

My Runaway Hourglass; Seventy Poems Celebrating Seventy Years (Poetica Publishing, 2020)

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading


UC Berkeley, MAT
Cal State Hayward

Subject Matter