Julie Carr was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She attended Barnard College, and, though interested in becoming a writer, she studied dance. After graduating with a BA in 1988, she danced for ten years in New York City with local companies and choreographers. In 1995, she went to New York University where she earned an MFA in poetry. She received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2006.
Carr’s first poetry collection, Mead: An Epithalamion (University of Georgia Press, 2004), was selected by Cole Swensen for the University of Georgia Contemporary Poetry Prize. Her other collections include Real Life: An Installation (Omnidawn, 2018); Sarah — of Fragments and Lines (Coffee House Press, 2010), a National Poetry Series winner; 100 Notes on Violence (Ahsahta Press, 2010), selected by Rae Armantrout for the 2009 Sawtooth Poetry Prize; and Equivocal (Alice James Books, 2007). Carr is also the author of Surface Tension: Ruptural Time and the Poetics of Desire in Late Victorian Poetry (Dalkey Archive, 2013). In 2023, Carr published the historical memoir Mud, Blood, and Ghosts: Populism, Eugenics, and Spiritualism in the American West (University of Nebraska Press).
In 2011, Carr received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently a professor of English at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is the co-publisher, alongside her husband Tim Roberts, of Counterpath Press. She lives in Denver.