Librettist, essayist, translator, and author of twelve poetry collections, Scott Cairns was Curators’ Distinguished Professor of English at University of Missouri until leaving that position to serve as Director of the Low-Residency MFA Program at Seattle Pacific University. As he oversees that program’s conclusion, he is assisting in its migration to Whitworth University in Spokane.

His poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, Image, Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, and many other venues—national and international—and both have been anthologized in multiple editions of Best American Spiritual Writing. He has blogged for the Religion Section of The Huffington Post. His recent books include Lacunae (2023), Anaphora (2019), Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems (2015), Idiot Psalms (2014), Short Trip to the Edge (spiritual memoir, 2016), Endless Life (translations and adaptations of Christian mystics, 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 current projects include Descent to the Heart, verse adaptations of selections from the writings of Saint Isaak of Syria, and a new pilgrimage book focusing on Orthodox Christian enclaves in Ireland and Scotland, Holy Outpost: The Thin Place Where East Meets West.