Regina Derieva was born in the former USSR (Odessa) in 1949. From 1965 until 1990 she lived and worked in Karaganda, Kazakhstan. She graduated from university with majors in music and Russian philology and literature. In the old Soviet Union, Derieva's poetry earned her the disapproval of the state authorities, and she was denied publication. The KGB kept tabs on her, and she was accepted into the Union of Writers only with glasnost. Derieva's work managed nonetheless to attract the attention of Joseph Brodsky, who first encouraged her to leave the USSR.
Regina Derieva is the author of twenty books of poems, prose and essays including most recent Sobranie Dorog: Selected Poems and essays in two volumes (St. Petersburg, 2006). Her work has been translated into many languages, including English, French, Swedish, Italian and Arabic. Her work has appeared in magazines such as Poetry, Quadrant, Modern Poetry in Translation, Salt, The Liberal, Cross Currents, Poetry East, St. Petersburg Review, Ars Interpres, Notre Dame Review, Words Without Borders, as well as in many Russian and Swedish magazines. She participated in a number of international festivals. Several of Regina Derieva's poems have been put to music by the Italian composer Armando Pierucci and two of his cantatas to Derieva's poems, Via Crucis (1999) and De Profundis (2001), have been recorded. She translated the poetry of contemporary American, British, Polish, and Swedish poets into Russian.
In 2003, Derieva was awarded the Shannon Fellowship of the International Thomas Merton Society. On leaving the former Soviet Union, Regina Derieva lived initially in Israel, moving to Sweden in 1999. She died on 11 December 2013, shortly before her 65th birthday and is survived by her husband Alexander Deriev.