Ardizzone was raised on the North Side of Chicago. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in 1971 and from Bowling Green State University with an MFA in 1975. He was arrested after a peaceful, nonviolent anti-war protest. In 1973 he also did a year of study at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
He taught at Saint Mary's Center for Learning (Chicago), Bowling Green State University, Old Dominion University, and Vermont College of Norwich University. In 1985, he taught at Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco. His work appeared in Ploughshares.
He served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs.
Currently, Ardizzone is a Chancellor's Professor in the MFA program at Indiana University, and lives in Bloomington, Indiana.