Julie Carr was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She attended Barnard College, and though interested in becoming a writer, she focused on dance. After graduating with a B.A. in 1988, she danced for ten years in New York with local companies and choreographers. In 1995, she went to New York University for an M.F.A. in poetry, and, a year later, with the birth of her first child, poetry became her main focus. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006.
Her first collection of poetry, 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). She is also the author of Surface Tension: Ruptural Time and the Poetics of Desire in Late Victorian Poetry (Dalkey Archive, 2013).
In 2011 Carr received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She currently serves as an Associate Professor of English at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is the copublisher, alongside her husband, Tim Roberts, of Counterpath Press. She lives in Denver, Colorado and has three children.