Frances Richey was born in Williamson, West Virginia in the heart of the coal fields in 1950. After graduating from the University of Kentucky, she worked in the business industry for nearly two decades. She had one child, Ben, and raised him as a single mother since he was two years old.
When Ben was in high school, Richey realized she needed a new pursuit that would provide a deeper sense of meaning in her life than her corporate job and fill the void that would surely come when Ben left home for college. So, while continuing her nine-to-five job, she began training for certification to teach yoga, and became a hospice volunteer in New York City. Each visit with a patient brought Richey closer to the reality of her mortality, and she soon started writing poems about her experiences there. Before long, she realized that she could change her life in a fundamental way and spend the rest of it doing work she loved: teaching yoga and writing.
Her first collection The Burning Point, published in March 2004, won the White Pine Press Poetry Prize and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Poems from her new collection, The Warrior, have appeared in a two-page spread in O, The Oprah Magazine, Nicholas Kristof's New York Times column, on the Lives page of the New York Times Magazine, and the local PBS show “New York Voices.”