She graduated from Hunter College and later earned an M.A. from New York University. She has been the poet in residence at the New York State Writer's Institute as well as spending time at Yaddo, an artist's colony in upstate New York.
Her work appears in American Poetry Review, Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Hudson Review, Ontario Review, Paris Review, The Nation.
Her ambition to be an artist was postponed when she entered college and became increasingly interested in the study of literature.She currently lives and works in Old Chatham, New York.
She has been the recipient of the Poetry Society of America's Gordon Barber Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship as well as a winner of the National Poetry Series and the Wesleyan New Poets Series. Joan Murray: poet, writer, playwright, and editor