Born in 1961, Judy Jordan grew up on a small farm near the border between the Carolinas. Her parents were sharecroppers, and Jordan was the first member of her family to attend college, receiving a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia in 1990. In 1995, she went on to earn a master's degree in poetry at the same school.
She has taught at the University of Virginia and Piedmont Virginia Community College, and in 1996 she received a Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry.
Her first poetry collection, Carolina Ghost Woods (Louisiana State University Press, 2000), was selected by James Tate to receive the 1999 Walt Whitman Award and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is also the author of 60 Cent Coffee And A Quarter To Dance: A Poem (2005). Jordan has completed two novels and is currently at work on a full-length play, and a memoir.
She recently earned a master's degree in fiction from the University of Utah. She now lives in a cabin, that she built herself, in the Shawnee National Forest, where she is working on a non-fiction book about her experiences there.