Beaulieu studied contemporary Canadian poetics at the University of Calgary. His work has appeared internationally in small press publications, magazines, and in visual art galleries. He has lectured on small press politics, arts funding and literary community in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Iceland.
He works extensively around issues of community and poetics, and along those lines has edited (or co-edited) the magazines filling Station (1998–2001, 2004–2008), dANDelion (2001–2004), and endNote (2000–2001).
He founded housepress in 1997 from which he published small editions of poetry, prose and critical work until 2004. The housepress fonds are now located at Simon Fraser University. In 2005 he founded the small press no press.
In 2005 he co-edited Shift & Switch: new Canadian poetry with Angela Rawlings and Jason Christie, a controversial anthology of new poetry which has been reviewed internationally.
Beaulieu has shifted his focus in recent years to conceptual fiction, specifically visual translations/rewritings. His book Flatland consists of visual patterns based on the typography of Edwin Abbott Abbott's classic novel Flatland and his book Local Colour is a series of colour blocks based on the original text of Paul Auster's novella Ghosts.
How to Write, a collection of conceptual prose, was published by Talonbooks in 2010.
- With Wax. Toronto: Coach House, 2003 ISBN 1-55245-118-6
- Frogments from the Fragpool: Haiku after Basho. Toronto: Mercury, 2005. ISBN 1-55128-112-0 (with Gary Barwin)
- Shift & Switch: New Canadian Poetry. Toronto: Mercury, 2005. ISBN 1-55128-116-3 (edited with angela rawlings and Jason Christie).
- fractal economies. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2006. ISBN 0-88922-539-7
- Flatland. York: information as material, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9553092-5-0
- Local Colour. Helsinki: ntamo, 2008. ISBN 978-952-215-049-3
- chains. Kingston, PA: paper kite press, 2008.
- How to Write. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2010. ISBN 978-0-88922-629-6.
- Silence. Anchill Island: redfoxpress, 2010.
- seen of the crime: essays on conceptual writing. Montreal: Snare, 2011.
- Kern. Lafarge, WI: Xexoxial Editions, 2012.
- Writing Surfaces: Selected Fiction of John Riddell. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013. (edited with Lori Emerson)
- Please, No More Poetry: the Poetry of derek beaulieu. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013. (edited by Kit Dobson).
In addition to writing, Beaulieu has also taught with the Calgary Board of Education, the Alberta College of Art + Design, the University of Calgary, and Mount Royal University.
- Interview at CanadianContent.ca
- Interview with the Danforth Review
- Article by at Logolalia.com
- The Mercury Press: Frogments