Scott Cairns

Scott Cairns
Professor Emeritus
Research and Teaching: 

Modern and contemporary American literature; poetics; creative writing, poetry and creative nonfiction

Scott Cairns teaches modern and contemporary American literature and creative writing. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Image, Spiritus, Tiferet, etc., and have been anthologized in Upholding Mystery (Oxford UP '96), Best Spiritual Writing (Harper Collins 1998 and 2000), and Best American Spiritual Writing (Houghton Mifflin, 2004, 2005, and 2006). His poetry collections include Slow Pilgrims: The Collected Poems (Paraclete Press, 2015), Idiot Psalms (Paraclete Press, 2014), Compass of Affection: Poems New and Selected (Paraclete Press, 2006), Philokalia (Zoo Press 2002), Recovered Body (Braziller 1998), Figures for the Ghost (U Georgia P 1994), The Translation of Babel (U of Georgia P 1990), and The Theology of Doubt (Cleveland State UP 1985). With W. Scott Olsen, he co-edited The Sacred Place (U of Utah P 1996), an anthology of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. His spiritual memoir, Short Trip to the Edge, (HarperSanFrancisco) and a collection of adaptations and translations, Love's Immensity: Mystics on the Endless Life (Paraclete Press), both appeared in 2007. The memoir is being released in paper from Paraclete Press in 2016, and in both a Greek and a Romanian translation (2015 and 2016, repsectively).  His Love's Immensity appeared in paper as Endless Life: Poems of the Mystics (Paraclete Press, 2014). He is founding director of Writing Workshops in Greece, and also serves on the faculty of the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at Seattle Pacific University. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006, and the Denise Levertov Award in 2014.  

  • PhD 1990, University of Utah
  • MFA, 1981, Bowling Green State University
  • MA, 1979, Hollins College
  • BA, 1977, Western Washington University
Select Publications: 
  • Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems, Preface by Richard Howard, Introduction by Gregory Wolfe, Paraclete Press, 2015
  • Idiot Psalms (new poems) Paraclete Press, 2014
  • Endless Life (translations & adaptations) Paraclete Press, 2014
  • The End of Suffering (essay) Paraclete Press, 2009
  • Short Trip to the Edge (spiritual memoir) HarperOne, 2007, Greek edition:Μικρό Ταξίδι στη Μεθόριο, Parrisia Press, Athens, 2014. English paperback edition, Paraclete Press, 2016
  • Love's Immensity: Mystics on the Endless Life (translations/adaptations), Paraclete Press,
  • Compass of Affection: Poems New & Selected, Paraclete, Press, 2006
  • Philokalia, Zoo Press, 2002
  • Recovered Body, New York: George Braziller Publishers, 1998. Reprint Eighth Day Press,
  • Figures for the Ghost, University of Georgia Press, 1994
  • The Translation of Babel, University of Georgia Press, 1990
  • The Theology of Doubt, Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1985


Awards and Honors: 
  • John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship
  • Denise Levertov Award
  • Pushcart Prize
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship