Poppy de Garmo

Born and raised in San Francisco, Frances graduated from Brown University with a degree in anthropology and lived in New York and New England working in film, food, rock and roll, and, finally, publishing. After making it through nine Maine winters, she is now back in the temperate San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys surfing and speaking Spanish.

Finally making it down the face of an 8-footer in Costa Rica, after getting dumped over the falls approximately 50 times. Practice makes perfect, in surfing and in writing!

Photo by Matos

The short version

Frances has spent twenty years in writing and publishing--editing national magazines, reviewing books, writing long features and short blurbs, publishing fiction in literary journals, editing artices for scientific journals, copyediting textbooks, critiquing manuscripts for a literary agency, writing press releases for rock bands, coaching writers on novels and environmental impact reports, and so on. The author of two biographies and a memoir, To Have Not, about growing up poor in 1970s San Francisco, she is at work on a memoir about learning to surf at age 36.


Frances leads popular writing workshops, and has developed a self-editing technique that she teaches to writers so they can revise and edit their own work. As founder and director of the grant-funded Community Memoir Project, she also brings free memoir-writing workshops to public libraries and community centers, and publishes anthologies of these under-represented voices.


The long version

EDITING Former Senior Editor of Body+Soul (aka Martha Stewart’s Whole Living) and Associate Editor of Hope magazine, Frances developed, assigned, edited, and rewrote hundreds of articles on food, nutrition, health, wellness, travel, arts, books, and culture. She then ran the books section at Body+Soul as a contributing editor, before becoming Good Housekeeping's book reviewer, covering almost 300 fiction and nonfiction titles, including best sellers from John Irving, Amy Tan, Donna Tartt, Jeanette Walls, and Toni Morrison. She is also the editor of print and e-books, including two print anthologies, We Are Here and No Place Like It; e-books Every Woman Has A Story, also an anthology, and Feral City by Alison Luterman; and Dying To Please: Anorexia Treament & Recovery by psychotherapist Avis Rumney.


WRITING Frances has written essays, articles, interviews, and book reviews in many consumer and trade publications, including Good Housekeeping, National Geographic, Health, Natural Health, Martha Stewart's Whole Living, Body+Soul, San Francisco Chronicle, Utne Reader, Poets & Writers, Island Journal, Pain Solutions, Portland Monthly, Portland Press Herald, and more. Her fiction, flash fiction, personal essays, and creative nonfiction appear in The Sun, Tin House, Glimmer Train, Frederick Barthelme’s New World Writing, Fiction, Memoir Journal, Superstition Review, Catamaran Literary Review, Passages North, and other literary journals.


HONORS & AWARDS Pushcart Prize Honorable Mention (twice)…Best American Essays Notable Essay (twice)…James Beard Journalism Awards for Food Writing (runner up to the New Yorker’s Bill Buford-profile of Mario Batali!)…the Fellowship in Literature from Rhode Island State Council on the Arts…CalHumanities Community Stories grant…San Francisco Foundation Koshland Arts & Culture grant…Martin Dibner Maine Writers Award…West Marin Writer in Residence. . . Hedgebrook residency… Mesa Refuge...


EVENTS & APPEARANCES A presenter at the AWP (Association of Writing Programs) annual conference three times and frequent curator at San Francisco’s LitQuake, Frances has read with Michael Ondaatje, William Least Heat-Moon, Cheryl Strayed, Kim Addonizio, Steve Almond, Molly Giles, Pamela Painter, and many others, at the California Writers Club, Radar Reading series, Writers With Drinks, Why There Are Words, and other literary events. In addition to the Community Memoir Project, Frances leads writing workshops in memoir and fiction at bookstores and retreats, including  Omega Institute’s Memoir Festival in New York (with Cheryl Strayed, Malachy McCourt, and Alphie McCourt); The Sun magazine’s annual Into the Fire writing retreats at Esalen Institute in Big Sur; and Memoir Journal's Master Classes in Memoir.


The even longer version

>To Have Not: A Memoir


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