Faculty Profile

Scott Cairns

Scott Cairns

Professor of English;
Director of the MFA in Creative Writing

Email: cairnss@spu.edu
Phone: 206-281-2109
Office: Marston 236


Education: BA, Western Washington University, 1977; MA Hollins University, 1979; MFA, Bowling Green State University, 1981; PhD, Utah State University, 1990. At SPU since 2016.

Dr. Scott Cairns is the program director of SPU’s MFA in Creative Writing program. He is also a librettist, memoirist, translator, and author of nine poetry collections. His poems and essays have appeared in PoetryImageParis ReviewThe Atlantic MonthlyThe New Republic, Prairie Schooner, and others, and have been anthologized in multiple editions of Best American Spiritual Writing.

Dr. Cairns is a regular blogger for the Religion Section of The Huffington Post, and contributes a podcast, Flesh Becomes Word, for Ancient Faith Radio. His most recent books are Anaphora (forthcoming in 2019), Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems (2015), Idiot Psalms (2014), Short Trip to the Edge (spiritual memoir, 2007 & 2016), Endless Life (translations and adaptations of Christian mystics, 2007 & 2014), and a book-length essay, “The End of Suffering” (2009). He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006, and the Denise Levertov Award in 2014.

His new projects include Descent to the Heart, a verse adaptation of selections from the writings of Saint Isaak of Syria. His spiritual memoir was just released in a Greek edition, Μικρό Ταξίδι στι Μεθόριο, and a second, expanded English edition appeared from Paraclete Press in 2016; a new, Romanian edition, Scurta Calatorie Pana La Capat, was just released in 2018.

He was Curators’ Distinguished Professor of English at University of Missouri, and founding director of Writing Workshops in Greece, a program now in its 12th year.