Stephen Morrissey was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1950. Morrissey graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Honours in English with Distinction, from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) in 1973. In 1976 he graduated with a Master of Arts degree in English from McGill University where he studied with the eminent poet Louis Dudek. Morrissey won the Peterson Poetry Award while at McGill.
In the 1970s Morrissey was associated with the Vehicule Poets, a group of young poets who published and organized poetry readings at Vehicule Art Gallery in Montreal. Morrissey's first book of poems, The Trees of Unknowing was published by Vehicule Press in 1978.
Morrissey also published two literary magazines, "what is" (1973-1975) and "The Montreal Journal of Poetics" (1978-1985). Morrissey taught English literature at Champlain College from 1976 to 2012. In 1983 Coach House Press in Toronto published Morrissey's second book of poems, Divisions. Northrop Frye wrote, "Divisions...I found extremely powerful, at once visionary and movingly personal." Family Album (1989) was published by Caitlin Press in Vancouver.
Stephen Morrissey's writing has been influenced by two great thinkers of the twentieth century: J. Krishnamurti, whose lectures he attended in Switzerland, California and New York City, and C.G. Jung, whose work influenced his Shadow Trilogy; The Compass (1993), The Yoni Rocks (1995), and The Mystic Beast (1997), all published by Empyreal Press in Montreal. Mapping the Soul: New and Selected Poems was published in 1998 by the Muses' Company in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Ralph Maud, Professor Emeritus at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia commented, "Morrissey tells us things we want to know about life, his life and ours. He does not get in the way of the reader thoroughly enjoying his poetry." Morrissey is also the author of Girouard Avenue (2009), a book that is influenced by his life-long interest in family history. A Private Mythology (2014) was published by Ekstasis Editions in Victoria, BC.
Stephen Morrissey has received writer's grants from the Canada Council for the Arts. In 1997 the Government of Quebec named an island in northern Quebec after a phrase from one of his poems, "La Vingt-Septieme Lettre." His poetry has been translated into French by Pierre DesRuisseaux and published in bilingual anthologies. A French translation of The Mystic Beast was published by Les Éditions Triptyque as la bête mystique in 2004. His poems have been published in anthologies and literary magazines. He has published many book reviews and articles on poetics. He has given poetry readings across Canada, from Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He has also read his work in the United States.
The Stephen Morrissey Papers, 1963 - 2014 are housed at Rare Books and Special Collections of the McLennan Library of McGill University. This includes literary papers, manuscripts, correspondence, diaries, notebooks, posters, photographs of poets, tape recordings of poetry readings and other papers.
Stephen Morrissey has one son, Jake Morrissey; he married poet Carolyn Zonailo in 1995. In 2000, Morrissey and Zonailo founded Coracle Press, in Vancouver, Canada.
Stephen Morrissey is a member of The Writers' Union of Canada and The League of Canadian Poets.