Sofia M. Starnes


Williamsburg, VA 23188

Author's Bio

SOFIA M. STARNES is a writer of Philippine-Spanish heritage who has been an American citizen since 1989. She was born in Manila, where she was educated in the Institución Teresiana (Saint Pedro Poveda College), and subsequently moved to Spain, where she received an advanced degree in English Philology from the University of Madrid. She holds a degree in English Pedagogy from the Instituto de Idiomas in Madrid as well. In 2013, she received a Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) degree from Union College (Ky.).

Sofia is the author of six poetry collections and the editor of two anthologies. Her chapbook, The Soul's Landscape (Aldrich, January 2002), was selected by then U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins as one of two co-winners of the 2001 Aldrich Poetry Prize. Her first full-length poetry book, A Commerce of Moments (Pavement Saw Press, August 2003), won the Editor's Prize in the 2001 Transcontinental Poetry Award competition and was named Honor Book in the 2004 Virginia Literary Awards competition. In 2008, her collection, Corpus Homini: A Poem for Single Flesh, was awarded the Whitebird Poetry Series Prize and published as a limited-edition, signed, and numbered chapbook by Wings Press. Her fourth collection, Fully Into Ashes, a full-length book, also was published by Wings Press in April 2011. In 2012, Franciscan University Press issued her fifth collection, Love and the Afterlife, a limited-edition, signed and numbered, invited chapbook, as part of the university's poetry series. In 2018, Paraclete Press, published her sixth book, The Consequence of Moonlight.

In 2013, Sofia edited Four Virginia Poets Laureate, 2004-2012: An Anthology and Reader's Guide, compiled at the request of the Poetry Society of Virginia. The book was published by Cedar Creek Press. Sofia’s most recent publication is The Nearest Poem Anthology (Cedar Creek Press, 2014), of which she is the editor. The anthology is the culmination of a project she initiated and completed during her term as Virginia Poet Laureate (2012-2014). The aim of the project and of the book is to recognize the reader as a vital contributor to a poem’s completion and to show the many varied reasons why poetry is integral to people’s lives.

Publications & Prizes

Best of the Decade, 2007 (Hawai'i Pacific Review, 2007)
Poetry Society of Virginia 80th Anniversary Anthology (Poetry Society of Virginia, 2003)
The Poet's Domain (Road Publishing, 1995)
The Consequence of Moonlight (Paraclete Press, 2018)
Love and the Afterlife (Franciscan University Press, 2012)
Fully Into Ashes (Wings Press, 2011)
Corpus Homini: A Poem for Single Flesh (Wings Press, 2009)
A Commerce of Moments (Pavement Saw Press, 2002)
The Soul's Landscape (Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, 2001)
Christianity & Literature
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Marlboro Review
Notre Dame Review
Prizes won: 

Sofia's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in over 150 journals, among them the Southern Poetry Review, Notre Dame Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Laurel Review, Hubbub, Pleiades, Gulf Coast, Madison Review, Hotel Amerika, Marlboro Review, and War, Literature, and the Arts. Her poems also have been anthologized in the Hawai'i Pacific Review Best of the Decade issue, Turnings: Transforming Women(Old Dominion University), the 80th Anniversary Anthology of the Poetry Society of Virginia, Ginosko, and Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets (Wipf and Stock, 2012). Her literary reviews have been featured in Christianity and the Arts, ImageUpdate, and Christianity and Literature. She serves as Poetry Editor and Poetry Book Review Editor for The Anglican Theological Review, an international scholarly journal of theological reflection, out of the Chicago area, which publishes essays and book reviews, as well as poetry by writers of various Christian traditions. In addition to the awards mentioned above, Sofia has received other recognitions for her poetry. She is the recipient of a Poetry Fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the 1997 Rainer Maria Rilke Poetry Prize, the Editor's Prize in the 2002 Marlboro Prize in Poetry competition, the 2004 Conference on Christianity and Literature Poetry Prize, the 2005 Superior Achievement Award in Poetry of the Virginia Writer's Club, the 2018 Ellen Anderson Award, five Pushcart Prize nominations, ten finalist commendations in national and international competitions, and listings in Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America, and Who's Who of American Women. In 2009, she was designated a Distinguished Scholar by Union College (Kentucky). In 2012, she was named Poet Laureate of Virginia.

More Information

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Manila and Madrid
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Last update: Mar 09, 2018