Michael Farrell has lived in Sydney and Melbourne, spending much of his childhood on a farm. He has worked as an editorial assistant and poetry reader at Meanjin and as editor of Slope. He has written various performance works, including the play 'Up Here' which was performed at the Melbourne Fringe Festival in 1991 under his direction. Farrell's literary influences include Joyce, Brecht, Stein, ee cummings, and popular culture. His early rural experiences also colour his poetic work.
Farrell co-edited the anthology Out of the Box: Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets which was published by Puncher & Wattmann in late 2009.
Farrell has completed a PhD at the University of Melbourne on experimental poetics in the nineteenth century and, in 2013, was a creative fellow at UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy.