She was born on April 29, 1936 to Russian Jewish immigrant parents in Avellaneda, , a suburb of Buenos Aires, Argentina. A year after entering the department of Philosophy and Letters at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Pizarnik published her first book of poetry, La tierra más ajena (1955). Soon after, she studied painting with Juan Battle Planas. Pizarnik followed her debut work with two more volumes of poems, La última inocencia (1956) and Las aventuras perdidas (1958).
From 1960 to 1964 Pizarnik lived in Paris. There she worked for the journal Cuadernos, sat on the editorial board of the magazine Les Lettres Nouvelles, and participated in the Parisian literary world.
She died in Buenos Aires of a self-induced overdose of seconal.