Poet Steve McCaffery was born in Sheffield, England, and earned a BA in English and philosophy from Hull University (England), an MA from York University (Toronto), and a PhD from the program in poetics, English, and comparative literature at SUNY Buffalo.
A critic, poet, and professor, McCaffery was part of the Canadian avant-garde poetry scene in the 1970s. His creative work has been marked by innovation and a move away from conventionally narrative forms. His oeuvre includes sound poetry (as part of the collaborative group the Four Horsemen with poets Rafael Barreto-Rivera, Paul Dutton, and bpNichol) and concrete poetry. His visual poetry is in permanent collections at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Paul Getty Research Institute in Malibu, the International Concrete Poetry Archive in Oxford, England, and the New York Public Library in New York City.
McCaffery’s poetry publications include a number of chapbooks and full-length collections, among them Modern Reading: Poems 1969–1990 (1991), Seven Pages Missing: Selected Texts Volume One (2001) and Volume Two (2002), and Verse and Worse: Selected and New Poems of Steve McCaffery 1989–2009 (2010). He has twice received the Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative North American Poetry.
McCaffrey and bpNichol edited Sound Poetry: A Catalogue (1978) and Rational Geomancy: The Kids of the Book-Machine: The Collected Research Reports of the Toronto Research Group 1973-1982 (1992), a manifesto and sampling of Canadian arts and writing. His published scholarly works include Imagining Language with Jed Rasula (1998), North of Intention: Critical Writings 1973–1986 (1986), and Prior to Meaning: The Protosemantic and Poetics (2001).
McCaffery is a professor in the Poetics Program at SUNY Buffalo.