McGriff was raised in Coos Bay, Oregon. His work has appeared in Slate, Field, AGNI, The Believer, Missouri Review, and Poetry. He is the founding editor of Tavern Books, a publishing house dedicated to poetry in translation and the revival of out-of-print books.
McGriff currently teaches at the University of Idaho.
- Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University
- Ruth Lilly Fellowship from The Poetry Foundation
- Michener Fellowship from the University of Texas at Austin
- 2007 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, for Dismantling the Hills
- 2010 Lannan Literary Fellowship
- 2013 Levis Reading Prize from Virginia Commonwealth University
- "Year of the Rat", Courtland Review, Spring 2009
- Choke. Traprock Books. 2006. ISBN 978-0-9767411-2-1.
- Dismantling the Hills. University of Pittsburgh Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0-8229-6007-2.
- Home Burial (Copper Canyon Press, 2012)
- Larry Smith, ed. (2005). Family matters: poems of our families. Bottom Dog Press. ISBN 978-0-933087-95-8.
- "From July ’90", Tomas Tranströmer, AGNI 65, 2007
- "Landscape with Suns", Tomas Tranströmer, AGNI 65, 2007
- Tomas Tranströmer (2009). The Sorrow Gondola. Translator Michael McGriff. Green Integer. ISBN 978-1-933382-44-9.