Lucia Perillo was born in 1958 and grew up in the New York City area. She received her BA from McGill University in Montreal, where she studied wildlife management, and her MA from Syracuse University.
She was the author of several collections of poetry, including The Body Mutinies (Purdue University Press, 1996), which won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award; Inseminating the Elephant (Copper Canyon Press, 2011), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Time Will Clean the Carcass Bones: Selected and New Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2016). Publishers Weekly described her poems as "blunt, graphic, and written in a strangely graceful matter-of-fact tone."
She received many awards and honors for her poetry, including the MacArthur Foundation's "Genius" Award in 2000. She taught at St. Martin's College, Southern Illinois University, Syracuse University, and in the Warren Wilson MFA program. In 1988, Perillo was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She died at her home in Olympia, Washington, on October 16, 2016.