Eugenijus Ališanka was born in Barnaul (Siberia) in 1960, where his parents were banished.
He grew up in Vilnius after the family's return in 1962 and studied mathematics there. He then worked as a research assistant at the Institute of Culture and Art. In 1991 he published the first volume of his three-part almanac Miestelėnai (The Townspeople; volumes two and three in 1995 and 1999) and in the same year he published his first volume of poetry Lygiadienis (Equinox), which was awarded the Zigmas Gėlė Prize for the best poetic debut of the year.
After a stay as a fellow of the International Iowa Writers' Workshop, his second collection of poems, Peleno miestas (1995; City of Ashes), was translated into English. In the meantime, parts of his works - four volumes of poetry and two books of essays - are also available in French, German, Polish, Swedish, Russian and Finnish.
From 1995-2002 Ališanka worked at the Lithuanian Writers' Union, responsible for international relations and the "Poetry Spring" festival. From 2003 onwards he has been editor-in-chief of the "Vilnius Review", presenting contemporary Lithuanian literature in English translation. He has also translated a number of authors from English, Russian, Polish and Slovenian (including Zbigniew Herbert, Wisława Szymborska, Bernardine Evarist, Jerome Rothenberg and Aleš Debeljak). Parts of his work have since been translated into English, French, Polish, Swedish, Russian, Finnish, and German.