Reetika Gina Vazirani was born August 9, 1962 in Patiala, India. In 1967, her family moved to the United States and settled in Silver Spring, Maryland. After high school, Vazirani earned her bachelor's degree from Wellesley College in 1984. She studied creative writing at Boston University from 1987 to 1988, and graduated with a master's degree in Fine Arts from the University of Virginia in 1997.
Vazirani published a number of essays and poems in anthologies, literary reviews, and journals. Many of her writings drew on her experiences as an Indian immigrant, and she earned critical recognition for her work. Her first book, "White Elephants" (Beacon Press, 1996), was awarded the Barnard New Women Poets Prize, and her second book, "World Hotel" (Copper Canyon Press, 2003), won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. Vazirani also served as a contributing and advisory editor on the literary magazines "Shenandoah" and "Callaloo."
Vazirani was also an experienced teacher, having taught creative writing and poetry at a number of universities. She began as a poetry instructor at the University of Virginia in 1996, and served as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Oregon a year later. In 1998, Vazirani accepted the position of the Margaret Banister Writer-in-Residence at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. She briefly taught as a visiting faculty member at the College of New Jersey in 2001. From 2002 to 2003, she served as Writer-in-Residence for the William & Mary.
Reetika Vazirani committed suicide on July 16, 2003 in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She was 40 years old.