Born in Toronto, Ontario, Donaldson was educated at Victoria College, University of Toronto. He teaches American literature, poetry, and creative writing in the English Department at McMaster University. He lives on the Niagara Escarpment near Grimsby, Ontario.
- Once Out of Nature. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1991. ISBN 0-7710-2844-X
- Waterglass. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-7735-1900-9
- Palilalia. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2008. ISBN 0-7735-3383-4
- "Guesswork". Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions. 2011. ISBN 0-86492-621-9
- "Slack Action." Porcupine's Quill, 2013.
"Echo Soundings: Essays on Poetry and Poetics." Palimpsest Press, 2014.
"Missing Link: the Evolution of Metaphor and the Metaphor of Evolution." Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2015.
- Frye and the Word: Religious Contexts in the Writings of Northrop Frye. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004. (with Alan Mendelson)
- Leckie, Ross: The Resources of Poetry. Review of Waterglass. Fiddlehead 201 (Fall 1999, Newfoundland Issue): 119-124.
- Ormsby, Eric: Of Deathbeds and Ventriloquists: Questions of Empathy. Review of Once Out of Nature. Essays on Canadian Writing 55 (Spring 1995): 240-247.
- Messenger, Cynthia: 'Confluence and Separation': The Poetry of Jeffery Donaldson. Review of Once Out of Nature. Essays on Canadian Writing 48 (Winter 1992-93): 111-115.
- Perron, Marianne: Review of Palilalia. Grasshopper Reads: A Review of Contemporary Canadian Literature. February 21, 2009. Web: November 17, 2009. <http://grasshopperreads.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/palilalia/>
- Keith, W.J. "The Spiritual Secularized: A Reading of Jeffery Donaldson's 'Museum.'" "Canadian Poetry" 65 (Fall/Winter 2009): 65-76 .
- Pollock, James: "The Magic of Jeffery Donaldson." Canadian Notes and Queries 75 (Winter 08/09): 77-84.
- Rule, Bernadette. Interview with Jeffery Donaldson. "Art Waves." Art Waves #118 (July 17, 2011). https://archive.org/details/JefferyDonaldsonArtWaves118
- Tregebov, Rhea: Letters in Canada 1991: Poetry. Review of Once Out of Nature. University of Toronto Quarterly 62.1 (Fall 1992): 74-76.
- Sutherland, Fraser: Old, New, Borrowed, Blue. Review of Once Out of Nature. Canadian Literature 135 (Winter 1992): 177-179.