Mark Scroggins was born in an American military hospital in Frankfurt, West Germany, as—quite coincidentally—Theodor Adorno prepared to deliver lectures on “History and Freedom” across town at the Institut für Socialforschung at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität. He spent his childhood in various military bases in West Germany; Syracuse, New York; Monterey, California; San Angelo, Texas; Murray, Kentucky—before settling in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he graduated from high school. After studying literature and philosophy at Virginia Tech, he did graduate work in English and creative writing at Cornell University, and eventually joined the English Department at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
Scroggins’s early scholarly work centered on the American modernist poet Louis Zukofsky, culminating in the critical biography The Poem of a Life (Shoemaker & Hoard, 2007), which was a New York Times Book Review “editor’s choice” and a Choice “Outstanding Academic Title of the Year.” Scroggins has also written essays and reviews on many modernist and contemporary writers, appearing in such collections as A History of Modernist Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 2015), The Cambridge History of American Poetry, The Oxford History of the Novel in English, The Cambridge Companion to American Poetry Since 1945, A Companion to Poetic Genres, and The Cambridge Companion to Modernist Poetry, and in journals, most notably, essays in Parnassus: Poetry in Review. Much of this work was collected in Intricate Thicket: Reading Late Modernist Poetries (University of Alabama Press, 2015).
Scroggins wrote iambic pentameter at Virginia Tech under the “New Formalist” Wyatt Prunty; his MFA thesis at Cornell was directed by A. R. Ammons. His first collection of poems, Anarchy (Spuyten Duyvil, 2003), was followed by Torture Garden: Naked City Pastorelles (The Cultural Society, 2011) and Red Arcadia (Shearsman, 2012). A fourth collection, Pressure Dressing, is forthcoming.
Most recently, Scroggins has returned to an interest in fantasy and science fiction, publishing the monograph Michael Moorcock: Fiction, Fantasy and the World’s Pain (McFarland, 2015). His current projects: a book on the aesthetic and epistemological issues at play in writing literary and philosophical biography; an essay on aesthetic and social implications of the instability of texts (with special attention to Emily Dickinson, Susan Howe, and Robert E. Howard); a book on the fragment; and a wide-ranging study of the influence of the Victorian art and social critic John Ruskin.
The Mathematical Sublime: Writing about Poetry,
an essay collection by Mark Scroggins,
is now available from MadHat Press.