Celia Dropkin was born Zipporah Levine Dropkin in Bobruysk, Russa (now Belaurs) to a Jewish family. Her father, a lumber merchant, died of tuberculosis she was very young. Her mother, Feige Levine, took her and her younger sister to live with relatives. Zipporah began writing poetry as a child. She received a traditional Jewish education from a rabbi’s wife and a secular education from her mother. She attended gymnasium (high school) in a neighboring city. After graduation, she briefly taught school in Warsaw before moving to Kiev to continue her studies. There she met the Hebrew writer Uri Nissan Gnessin, who encouraged her writing ambitions.
In 1909, she married Samuel Dropkin, a political activist, with whom she had six children. In 1912, she followed her husband to New York City, where he had fled the Tsarist authorities. Celia Dropkin became active in Yiddish cultural circles, translating many of her Russian poems into Yiddish for publication in Yiddish literary journals. She also wrote some short stories and a novel. Many of her poems employ Christian and classical references. During the Great Depression, the family moved frequently in search of work. They lived for several years in Virginia and later in Massachusetts, before returning permanently to New York in the late 1930s. Celia Dropkin collected her poems into the only book published in her lifetime, In Heysn Vint (In the Hot Wind, 1935). After her husband's death in 1943, her poetry writing diminished and may have stopped altogether. The last poem she published was the 1953 "Fun Ergets Ruft a Fayfl" (From Somewhere a Whistle Calls). In her last year, Celia Dropking took up painting and her work won amateur competitions.