Occasional essays and reviews from Victorian culture through Rock-n-Roll, with an emphasis on contemporary poetry and fantasy, from poet and scholar, Mark Scroggins.
“Most of the pieces in this collection are frankly occasional, called into being by editors of books, periodicals, or websites, or suggested by the opportunity to deliver a talk among like-minded people. I have been fortunate indeed in having editors who’ve given me considerable latitude in what to write about, so that I’ve been able to share my sometimes eccentric enthusiasms. At various times, I’ve had the opportunity, either invited or happened upon, to write about artifacts that fall outside of my usual circle of interest. I’ve come to welcome such opportunities to stretch out my own sensibilities, to discover what others have found valuable in works sometimes alien to the jerry-rigged “tradition” I have made for myself, and thereby to glimpse a broader definition of what it means to be human. And more proximately, to discover new pleasures, new provocations.” —Mark Scroggins (from the introduction of ARCANE PLEASURES)
“The short answer is that Mark Scroggins is a poet, biographer, and literary critic. The long answer is that Scroggins is a child of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who has written passionately and smartly about the poetry of Algernon Swinburne, Don Mee Choi, Susan Howe, Geoffrey Hill, Marcella Durand, and Uche Nduka. (Dear Reader, is your head spinning?) He has read all of the books of the English science fiction and fantasy writer Michael Moorcock and the polymath, art critic, and philosopher John Ruskin (both prolific authors). He has written and edited authoritative books on Louis Zukofsky, which is how I first discovered him. I suspect that Scroggins is a 21st-century polymath, but we don’t give degrees in that (we should). He reads sympathetically and carefully, attendant to everything that makes a poem a poem, which we have not agreed on since the death of Alexander Pope. That’s why I read Scroggins, no matter who or what he has turned his attention to. He has no axe to grind in a world where it seems everyone does. It is never about whether I agree with him or not: it is that I am interested in engaging with the level of attention and precision he brings to each thing he reads, each work of art he looks at. He teaches me.” —John Yau
Poetry. Essays. Poetics. Music.
Mark Scroggins was born in West Germany and grew up in a number of places, including upstate New York, California, Kentucky, and Tennessee. His parents were an elementary school teacher and a Russian linguist. He has written scholarly monographs on the poet Louis Zukofsky and the fantasist Michael Moorcock, and a critical biography of Zukofsky. He has edited a selection of Algernon Charles Swinburne's erotic poetry. His previous collections of essays and reviews are Intricate Thicket: Reading Late Modernist Poetries (2015) and The Mathematical Sublime: Writing About Poetry (2016). Scroggins's poems have been collected in DAMAGE: POEMS 1988-1022 and Zion Offramp 1-50. He lives in Montclair (New Jersey) and Manhattan.