Bogan was able to attend the Girls’ Latin School for five years, which eventually gave her the opportunity to attend Boston University. She left the university to marry Curt Alexander, a corporal in the U.S. Army, but their marriage ended in 1918. Bogan moved to New York to pursue a career in writing, and their only daughter, Maidie Alexander, was left under the care of Bogan’s parents. After her first husband's death in 1920, she left and spent a few years in Vienna, where she explored her loneliness and her new identity in verse. She returned to New York City and published her first book of poetry, Body of This Death: Poems, in 1923, meeting that year the poet and novelist Raymond Holden. They were married by 1925. Four years later, she published her second book of poetry, Dark Summer: Poems, and shortly after was hired as a poetry editor for The New Yorker. However, the past was repeated and the constant struggle between Holden’s self-indulgence and Bogan’s jealousy resulted in their divorce in 1937.
As poetry editor of The New Yorker magazine for nearly 40 years, Bogan played a major role in shaping mainstream poetic sensibilities of the mid-20th Century.