The Write Space — J.D. Scrimgeour

The Write Space is a new Q&A series from Creative Salem covering a local writer and a Salem space s/he associates with writing. Taking suggestions for who to cover next at susanna.baird@gmail.com.

Give us your best writerly bio.

J.D. Scrimgeour is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Salem State University. He has published two books of nonfiction, Spin Moves and Themes For English B: A Professor’s Education In & Out of Class. The latter won the Association of Writers and Writing Program’s (AWP) Award for Nonfiction. He’s also the author of the poetry collections The Last Miles and Territories and his latest book of poems, Lifting the Turtle, will be published in November 2017. He has collaborated with artists in other mediums, including choreographer Caitlin Corbett, photographer Kim Mimnaugh, and Director Peter Sampieri. With musician Philip Swanson he released the CD of poetry and music, Ogunquit & Other Works.

The musical that he composed with his two sons, Aidan and Guthrie, Only Human, premiered in Salem’s Ames Hall Theater in 2014.

Tell us about your Salem Write Space.

I write primarily at my kitchen table or at the Salem Athenaeum [http://salemathenaeum.net]. The Athenaeum is a unique place and space, one that feels timeless and aged, and, with all the books surrounding me, it makes me feel that words matter. It has supported many writing programs and continues to be a hub for writers in the area. I’ve been writing there for over a decade, and I open it up one morning a week for the community to come and write.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a series of short stories about youth baseball set in a town that resembles Salem. These stories have made me start thinking about compiling a compendium of my writing about Salem, a mix of poetry, fiction and essays. I’ve always enjoyed books and writing that resist easy genre classification.

I hope to begin charting it out next year.

When I’m in Salem, not writing, I love to be …

… swatting tennis balls on the courts at Salem State; cooling off in the ocean at Winter Island; walking through downtown and out to the lighthouse on Derby Wharf; meeting with writers, students and former students at Gulu-Gulu, Front Street, or Jaho — oh, and on the jigglator at Salem Willows!

Enjoy a few paragraphs on Salem from Scrimgeour’s View from Sunset Rock [http://solsticelitmag.org/content/featured-view-sunset-rock/], an essay on artist Thomas Cole that appeared in Solstice.

Oh, old city of the new world, painted and repainted, lead-painted and spray-painted, bricked and cobbled, burned to the ground and risen, shallow-harbored and forgotten, scene of early sins, Naumkeag, Shalom. Now some say the accusing girls may have gone delirious because of something in the bread, now they shut down the coal-burning plant that paid for our schools and ruined our lungs.

I stand in you, I walk in you, I bike through you. I hear your sirens and cicadas, I swim at your small, waveless beaches. I drip my sweat on your asphalt. I listen to your poems every other Tuesday. I lie in a hammock and sleep in you, the shade of you.

Learn more about J.D. at jdscrimgeour.com and at confluence-poetryandmusic.com.

Salem Scene - Salem Generation Games Opening Ceremony
  • Salem Scene — Salem Generation Games Opening Ceremony
  • SALEM, MA — The City of Salem, the Salem Department of Park, Recreation, and Community Services, the Salem State University (SSU) College of Arts & Sciences, the SSU Sport & Movement Science Department, and Rotterdam University’s Sport Marketing and Management …
  • Read More
Media Gallery - 2017 Hawthorne Hotel Creative Salem Masquerade Ball
Salem Scene - Salem Award Foundation 25th Anniversary Kick Off
Peabody Essex Museum 2017 Exhibition List
  • Peabody Essex Museum 2017 Exhibition List
  • 2017 EXHIBITION LINE-UP SALEM, MA — With a diverse line-up of exhibitions for 2017, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) continues its commitment to creating unique encounters with art and culture to enrich and transform people’s lives by broadening their perspectives, …
  • Read More
Word Up Next Writers Events - February 2017
  • Word Up Next Writers Events — February 2017
  • Word Up Next Word Up Next is a monthly listing of writers’ events in Salem and nearby towns. Want to add something to the calendar? Email susanna.baird@gmail.com. Monday, Feb. 6, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Witch City Writers Group Meet Up and …
  • Read More
Suggested Reading - January 24, 2017
  • Suggested Reading — January 24, 2017
  • Make arts education standard — The Boston Globe Kids need to learn about the arts. But teachers and parents have complained about the narrowing of elementary and secondary public education — specifically, that federal guidelines outlined by the George W. …
  • Read More
Tidal Shift: Redirecting the Current of Public Space
Photo Gallery - Innonorth Event at Opus Underground
Photos - Andrew Bablo - Hair of the Dog - Beverly MA
Rent Star Adam Pascal to Inspire Young Actors at Salem Y
Salem Scene - Salem Generation Games Opening Ceremony
Media Gallery - 2017 Hawthorne Hotel Creative Salem Masquerade Ball
Salem Scene - Salem Award Foundation 25th Anniversary Kick Off
Peabody Essex Museum 2017 Exhibition List
Word Up Next Writers Events - February 2017
Suggested Reading - January 24, 2017
Tidal Shift: Redirecting the Current of Public Space
Photo Gallery - Innonorth Event at Opus Underground
Photos - Andrew Bablo - Hair of the Dog - Beverly MA
Rent Star Adam Pascal to Inspire Young Actors at Salem Y