She grew up in Connecticut. She graduated from Wesleyan University, the University of Washington, was a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, and from University of Missouri with a Ph.D.
- 2008 Writer Magazine/Emily Dickinson Award
- 2003 Kate Tufts Discovery Award
- 2000 Award Series in Poetry Associated Writing Programs 
- "Bad Annunciation", Slate, Sept. 4, 2007
- "Ants". Poetry. April 2000.
- "Iceberg Lettuce". Poetry. January 1999.
- "One Afternoon". Poetry. July–August 2007.
- "Tea Party". Poetry. July 2006.
- The Zoo. University of Pittsburgh Press. 2002. ISBN 978-0-8229-5768-3.
- View from a Temporary Window, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010, ISBN 0-8229-6055-9
- Heather McHugh, David Lehman, ed. (2007). "When I was a dinosaur". The Best American Poetry 2007. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-9972-5.
- David Wagoner, David Lehman, eds. "Boarding: Hemaris thysbe, The Best American Poetry 2009, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0-7432-9977-0
- David Yezzi, ed. Five Poems. The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets, OUP/Swallow Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8040-1121-1
Here's wildness and art, in right proportion: the wildness is surprise without swagger; the art is graceful and mostly disappearing, and otherwise a little extravagant. As in the case of jugglery (another of Joanie Mackowski's mastered arts), loopiness is nothing without the catch. Dropped clubs, flat cakes, flat notes--where but in poetry is a native gift for clumsiness, sedulously conserved, so praised? 
- Heather McHugh, David Lehman, eds. (2007). The Best American Poetry 2007. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-9973-2.
- MacKowski, J. (1996). "Vanishing Points". The Antioch Review. 54 (2): 156. doi:10.2307/4613301.
- "Joanie Mackowski". Boston review. October–November 1997.