Compass of Affection by Scott Cairns
New and Selected Poems

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review



For Scott Cairns, a poem is not so much a means of expression as it is a way of discovery. It is not so much a document of past experience as it is an occasion for new experience, and the construction of a scene in which the collisions of words and their provocative, generative energies bring about new matter and new vision.

Spanning thirty years and including selections from four of his previous five collections, Compass of Affection further enacts the poet’s longstanding engagement with language as revelation, and his insistence that poetry be understood less as an expression of what is already known, and more as a way of knowing. Observing these further developments, one comes to suspect that Cairns’ poems are no longer to be understood as discussions of theology, but as theology performed.

Praise for Scott Cairns’ work

“Scott Cairns [is] perhaps the most important and promising religious poet of his generation.”

Prairie Schooner

  “The voice of Cairns is conversational and coaxing—confiding in us secrets that seem to be our own.”  —Publishers Weekly


About Scott Cairns

See more books from this Author
Scott Cairns teaches modern and contemporary American literature and creative writing at the University of Missouri. He is an accomplished poet whose writing has appeared in "The Atlantic Monthly", "The Paris Review", "The New Republic, Books & Culture, and Image". He was recently named a Guggenheim Fellow.
Published September 1, 2006 by Paraclete Pr. 161 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Compass of Affection

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Familiarity not only with New Testament texts but with the Church Fathers, their methods of exegesis and sometimes parallel questions from Jewish learning give Cairns a range of allusion and launching pads for his poems, as in the winning series "Adventures in New Testament Greek."

| Read Full Review of Compass of Affection: New and...

Rate this book!

Add Review