Koeneke was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and Los Angeles. He is the author of the full-length poetry collections Etruria (2014), Musee Mechanique (2006), and Rouge State (2003), as well as many chapbooks, including Rules for Drinking Forties (2009) and On the Clamways (2004). His scholarly work includes the book Empires of the Mind: I.A. Richards and Basic English in China, 1929-1979 (2004).

Koeneke earned his BA from University of California-Berkeley and his PhD in History from Stanford University. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon, and teaches at Portland State University. In August 2014, he was a featured writer for Harriet.