Xu Yu was born in Yutian, Hebei Province in 1939. In 1960, he joined the party and taught in Yutian Normal University of Hebei Province. The next year, he was a calligraphy teacher in Normal University. In 1964, he was sent to the Education Department of Hebei University for study. After graduation in 1968, he successively worked as a soldier, journalist, editor, editor in chief, director of the association, etc. In 1973, he published the first poetry collection, new songs for military reclamation. In 1980, he participated in the founding work of Hebei Calligrapher Association. In 1981, he joined the Chinese Writers Association. In November 1983, he served as the chairman and Secretary General of the Folk Literature Research Association of Hebei Federation of literary and art circles. In May 1987, he was the editor in chief of poetry magazine of Hebei Federation of literary and art circles, and was rated as the editor in chief. In 1990, a large personal calligraphy exhibition was held. In 1993, it was published by domestic peace press and Japan chengwentang. In October 1996, he was vice chairman of Hebei Federation of literary and art circles. In November 1997, he served as vice chairman of Hebei Federation of literary and art circles, chairman and Secretary General of the third Calligrapher Association of Hebei Province, and then reappointed as the fourth and fifth chairman of Hebei Calligrapher Association. In 2000, he served as the fourth vice chairman of China Book Association, the fifth vice chairman of China Book Association, and the chairman of regular script Professional Committee of China Book Association. In 2007, at the first meeting of regular script Committee of Chinese Calligraphy Association, the concept of modern regular script was put forward.
Later, he was the editor in chief of Jinkai daily and Jinkai argumentation. In 2014, "Xuyu art seminar" supported by China Federation of literary and art, sponsored by China Book Association, poetry Committee of China Writers Association, Publicity Department of Hebei provincial Party committee, Hebei Federation of literary and art, Hebei Writers Association and sponsored by Hebei Book Association was held in Beijing China Federation of literary and art. Sun Jiazheng, vice chairman of the CPPCC National Committee and chairman of the China Federation of literary and art circles, inscribed a plaque for Xu Yu with the title of "double happiness in virtue and art". In 2016, Xuyu Art Museum of Hebei University was completed. In 2016, he created 30 pieces of letters sent by Xuyu to history, which were published in the calligraphy newspaper, and Hebei Fine Arts Publishing House published letters sent to history. In 2018, he published Laozi and calligraphy and painting in the calligraphy newspaper, and Laozi and calligraphy and painting in Shandong Pictorial Publishing House. In 2019, calligraphy daily held "Xuyu reading notes" appraisal meeting for Mr. Xuyu in Wuhan
In 1990, he held a large personal calligraphy art exhibition in Hebei Provincial Museum. In 1993, he went to Japan for calligraphy art exchange and published calligraphy art monograph in Japan and calligraphy monograph in China Peace Press. In 1994, he attended the large-scale calligraphy and painting meeting of Diaoyutai state guesthouse on the 45th Anniversary of the founding of the people's Republic of China, and his works were collected by Zhongnanhai. In 2002, "Xuyu calligraphy art exhibition" was held in Hebei University of Arts. In 2004, Yutian county government prepared to build "Xuyu Art Museum" and donated 140 fine calligraphy works to Yutian County. In 2009, "Xuyu and calligraphy exhibition and calligraphy works collection ceremony" was held in Hebei Provincial Museum, and more than 20 pieces of fine calligraphy works were donated to the museum. In 2016, 126 calligraphy masterpieces were donated to Hebei University, the alma mater of Hebei University. Hebei University specially established Xuyu art museum to collect and display Xuyu calligraphy works throughout the year. In 2019, he donated to his alma mater Hebei University two volumes of "notes on investigation of Dunhuang frescoes by Zhang Daqian" and three volumes of cultural relics and treasures of handwriting by Wang Guowei Xiaokai.