Flesh becomes word

The incarnational poetry of Scott Cairns

From Baptist to Presbyterian to Orthodox—that’s hardly a conventional trajectory for an American Christian. Even less usual, perhaps, than claiming to be a Christian poet, or being summarily unhired from a Christian university because a single poem was deemed unsuitable by the administration. But Scott Cairns has never managed to be typical.

One of the better-known poets who accepts the label “Christian writer,” he is probably best known for a single erotic poem, “Interval with Erato,” and the controversy that erupted when the administration of Seattle Pacific University became aware of the poem and withdrew a job offer as a result. A rather public scandal resulted, with earnest defenders of propriety on one side and equally earnest defenders of artistic freedom on the other.


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