Lucia Perillo grew up in the suburbs of New York City in the 1960's. She graduated from McGill University in Montreal in 1979 with a major in wildlife management, and subsequently worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She completed her M.A. in English at Syracuse University, while working seasonally at Mount Rainer National Park, and moved to Olympia, Washington in 1987, where she taught at Saint Martin's College. For most of the 1990's, Perillo taught in the creative writing program at Southern Illinois University.
She suffers from Multiple sclerosis.
She now lives with her husband, James Rudy, in Olympia, Washington.
Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Kenyon Review.
Her poetry collection Inseminating the Elephant was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.