She was born in Kiev and her family emigrated to the United States, when she was eight and lived in New York. Like many immigrants, she worked in a clothing factory during the day, but was able to attend night high school. She was an outstanding student and won a scholarship to Valparaiso University; she later transferred to the University of Wisconsin–Madison, receiving a degree in library science. She met her husband, the prize-winning poet Horace Gregory there; they married in 1925. Her two children were Patrick and Joanna Gregory. She wrote eight volumes of poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cold Morning Sky, and she edited six anthologies of poetry.
Her work appeared in The New York Times,Poetry Magazine,