Pattiann Rogers was born Pattiann Tall into a poor family headed by William Tall and Irene C. Tall. Her mother was a homemaker, and the family was dependent on what her father could earn as an inventor. When she was twenty, she married John Robert Rogers. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Missouri in 1961, with a B.A. in English literature. After graduation, she worked as an English teacher to support her husband through graduate school. He became a geophysicist, giving Rogers a connection to science that informs much of her poetry. When her first son was born, she stayed home to take care of him, and another son soon followed. Rogers developed her poetry career while she was raising her two children.
In 1981, she earned an M.A. from the University of Houston and embarked on a career as an academic. She has taught at the University of Texas, the University of Montana, Washington University of St. Louis, and Mercer University as the Ferrol Sams Distinguished Writer-in-Residence. She was associate professor and taught at the University of Arkansas in the M.F.A. creative writing program at the University of Arkansas during spring semesters from 1993 to 1997. She and her husband settled in Colorado.