Mitchell grew up in New York City, New York and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida. She has a B.A. in English literature from Wellesley College, an M.A. from Georgetown University, and an A.B.D. from Columbia University. She has taught at Middlebury College and Northeastern Illinois University, and currently holds the Mary Blossom Lee Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at Florida Atlantic University.
She has published poems in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, and The Paris Review. Her poems have also been included in five volumes of The Best American Poetry and two Pushcart Prize volumes.
She has been recognized for her work by notable organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Lannan Foundation. Her collection, Rapture, won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and was a National Book Award finalist.