J.D. Scrimgeour

jdJ.D. Scrimgeour is a writer who lives in Salem, Massachusetts. His personal essays and poetry often focus on class and education, exploring what constitutes authentic learning in the exchange between student and teacher. Learning was a major theme in Themes For English B: A Professor’s Education In & Out of Class, which won the AWP Award for Nonfiction, and his work on the subject has appeared in The Boston Globe Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Thought & Action, Off the Coast, and Organica.

He also has published literary work on sports, especially basketball and baseball. He’s the author of the basketball memoir, Spin Moves, and his sports writing has appeared in various journals including the anthology Fast Break to Line Break: Poets on the Art of Basketball and Creative Nonfiction, where his essay “My Outfield,” won the magazine’s Writing about Baseball contest.

Much of his work is interdisciplinary, exploring connections between writing and other arts. He has collaborated with artists in other media, including performing works with photographer Kim Mimnaugh and choreographer Caitlin Corbett. For several years, he and Philip Swanson have collaborated on Confluence, a performance group blending poetry and music. And, in 2014, he wrote the book and lyrics to Only Human, a musical that premiered in Salem Ames Hall Theater in 2014.

Scrimgeour has served as Coordinator of Creative Writing at Salem State University for several years. He created and directs the Salem Poetry Seminar, a free week-long summer program for select student poets at Massachusetts public colleges and universities, and he is on the executive board of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival.

He lives in Salem, Massachusetts, a city where some of his ancestors were put to death for being witches and others sat on the jury that found them guilty.


  1. Just want to say that J.D’s
    course is really stimulating
    a hitherto flatline poetic
    impulse. It’s amazing!
    Thank you!

  2. J.D.’s incredible writing and performances of his work are surpassed only by his contributions to the lives of others through the creation of inclusive communities in education and the arts, and through the opportunities he creates for others. He is an engaging teacher, a fearless writer, and a pioneer in the arts.

  3. Erin O'Hearn Mailman

    I took at least six of J.D.’s poetry and creative writing courses over fifteen years ago. To this day I can still recall the many details of his captivating teaching style. He was and is so unique with presenting material- his enthusiasm being contagious and inspiring! In all my past and future courses, I have never encountered such an influential and talented professor. Without sounding too grandiose, I mean to the full true extent of the term that his teachings are life-changing.

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