Scott Cairns

Memoir, Poetry, Spirituality

Scott Cairns is a poet, memoirist, librettist, essayist, blogger, and program director of Seattle Pacific University’s MFA in Creative Writing program. His books include the poetry collections Idiot Psalms and Slow Pilgrim, the spiritual memoir Short Trip to the Edge, a translation of Christian mystics, and a book-length essay on suffering. He also co-edited The Sacred Place, an anthology of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, which won the inaugural National Outdoor Book Award in 1997. He wrote the libretto for “The Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp,” an oratorio composed by JAC Redford, and the libretto for “A Melancholy Beauty,” an oratorio composed by Georgi Andreev.

Cairns received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006 and the Denise Levertov Award in 2014. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Image, and Poetry and has been anthologized in Upholding Mystery, Best Spiritual Writing (1998 and 2000), and Best American Spiritual Writing (2004, 2005, and 2006). Cairns has served on the faculties of Kansas State University, Westminster College, University of North Texas, and Old Dominion University. While at North Texas, Cairns served as editor of the American Literary Review.

Cairns is currently Curators’ Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Missouri. In addition to his work at Seattle Pacific University, he is the founding director of Writing Workshops in Greece.

Possible Answers to Prayer | poem | Poetry Foundation
Words Lead You to Ideas | interview | Faith & Leadership
Sweet Life | poem | Image
The End of Suffering | essay | Image


Festival Years: 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2008, 2006, 2004, 2002, 2000