Scott Cairns is a poet, memoirist, libretist, and essayist who became an Orthodox Christian in his maturity. He serves as a reader/psalti at St. Luke Greek Orthodox Church in Columbia, Missouri and is Professor of English at the University of Missouri.
Scott Cairns was born in Tacoma, Washington in 1954. As a youth he was raised a Baptist and became a Presbyterian during his college years. In 1998, he became Orthodox Christian, receiving, at his conversion, the name Isaac, after St. Isaac of Syria, whose Ascetical Homilies were key to Scott's embracing Orthodox Christianity.
Scott's collegiate education began at Western Washington University, Bellingham, from which he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1977. He then attended Hollins College, Roanoke, Virginia, from which he received a Master of Arts degree in 1979. In 1981, Scott was granted a Master of Fine Arts degree from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. Then in 1990, he received his PhD from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
In his professional life, Scott has taught American literature and creative writing at Kansas State University, Westminster College, University of North Texas, Old Dominion University, and University of Missouri[]. As Professor of English at the University of Missouri, he is Director of Creative Writing Programs and Director of the Center for the Literary Arts.
He lives in Columbia, Missouri with his wife, Marcia Vanderlip, and their two children.
- The End of Suffering: Finding Purpose in Pain (Paraclete Press, 2009)
- Love's Immensity: Mystics on the Endless Life (Paraclete Press, 2007) ISBN 978-1557255259
- Short Trip to the Edge: Where Earth Meets Heaven—A Pilgrimage (HarperSanFrancisco, 2007) ISBN 978-0060843229
- Compass of Affection: Poems New and Selected (Paraclete Press, 2006) ISBN 978-1557255037
- Philokalia (Zoo Press, 2002) ISBN 978-0970817730
- Recovered Body (George Braziller Publishers, 1998, reprinted by Eighth Day Books, 2003) ISBN 978-0971748347
- Figures for the Ghost (University of Georgia Press, 1994) ISBN 978-0820316017
- Disciplinary Treatises (Trilobite Press, 1993)
- Sermons for the Wary (Franciscan University Press, 1993)
- The Translation of Babel (University of Georgia Press, 1990) ISBN 978-0820311999
- The Theology of Doubt (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1985) ISBN 978-0914946526
- Finding the Broken Man (Window Press, 1982)