Sofia M. Starnes
Poet, Editor, and Translator
Further Extended Reviews
Books & Reviews

The Soul's Landscape

(a chapbook, with What's Worse, poems by co-winner Douglas Goetsch)
ISBN 1-888332-18-2
2001 Aldrich Poetry Prize (currently out of print)

A Commerce of Moments

ISBN 1-886350-68-X 
ISBN 978-1-886350-68-7
2001 Editor's Choice, Transcontinental Poetry Award
Honor Book 2004 Virginia Literary Awards Competition
Pavement Saw Press, Columbus, Ohio, 2003; Second Revised Edition, 2013
(available through Pavement Saw Press,, Small Press Distributors, and major book distributors, or by contacting the poet at

Corpus Homini: A Poem for Single Flesh

(a limited-edition chapbook, numbered and signed by the author)
ISBN-13: 978-0-916727-51-2 (alk. paper)
2008 Whitebird Poetry Series Prize
Wings Press, San Antonio, Texas, 2008
(available through Wings Press,, or by contacting the poet at

Fully Into Ashes

Print Edition ISBN: 978-0-916727-70-3
ePub ISBN: 978-1-60940-021-7
Kindle ISBN: 978-1-60940-022-4
Library PDF ISBN: 978-1-60940-023-1
Wings Press, San Antonio, Texas, 2011
(available through Wings Press,, and major book distributors, or by contacting the poet at

Love and the Afterlife

(a limited-edition chapbook, numbered and signed by the author)
Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio, 2012
(available exclusively by contacting the poet at

Four Virginia Poets Laureate, 2004-2012: An Anthology and Reader's Guide  
(Sofia M. Starnes, Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-9839192-6-1
Cedar Creek Publishing, Gordonsville, Virginia, 2013
(available through Cedar Creek Publishing,, or by contacting the editor at Also available through major book distributors.) 

The Nearest Poem Anthology
(Sofia M. Starnes, Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-9891465-0-0
Cedar Creek Publishing, Somerset, Virginia 
(available through Cedar Creek Publishing,, or by calling the publisher at 540-832-3103. Also available through major book distributors.)

Book Translation:

Zóbel: Pintura y Dibujos, by Magaz Sangro
Zobel: Paintings and Drawings, by Magaz Sangro (Engl. Trans. Sofia Molina de Starnes)

ISBN: 978-84-606-8134-2
Galeria Cayon, Madrid, SPAIN


Following are some reviews of my poetry. For other, extended reviews, please click the "Further Extended Reviews" link in the upper left-hand margin of this page.

About Fully Into Ashes...

For those who, as Sofía Starnes puts it, “hazard holiness,” the world, which must be loved, also requires a strange and luminous patience that her poems celebrate and embody, sometimes impatiently, as they seek the numinous: “It is as though a household knocker rapped: Keep close to home; / Keep home. As if a distant continent crept into my room.” Her challenging lyrical explorations echo Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins, but her voice is all her own—jazzy, lyrical, acerbic, and mystical: “A child is what she is; // not the day, / not the doubt my word careens against— // There I go now, forgetting.” You will not read a better, stranger book this year.

—Andrew Hudgins, author of Ecstatic in the Poison, After the Lost War, et al.

The language in this book is antic, driven by smart, syncopated rhythms. Sofia Starnes’s poems are flagrant with the stuff of the real world—all the body’s rich pleasures. In and through that physical reality moves  another world, a world of spirits. It is as if the poems release other, more subtle, nuanced, shadowy presences and the two realities render one another more palpable. Fully Into Ashes is a major accomplishment.

—Jeanne Murray Walker, author of New Tracks, Night Falling
“I’m dreaming up identities,” writes Sofia Starnes in the poem “Awash,” which reads both as an ars poetica and a keynote for her lyrical and sensual new collection. Who was the first to do that, to dream up identities? Was it God or Adam? Language is a holy gift, as the poems in this marvelous book demonstrate. And there isn’t a poet of faith worth reading, from Solomon to John Donne, who doesn’t marry sensuality to religious belief. Starnes is part of that great tradition.
—Mark Jarman, author of Bone Fires: New and Selected Poems
About Love and the Afterlife

You don't have to read far into Sofia Starnes's new collection of poems, Love and the Afterlife, to realize that even if you think you are at home in the world of Christianity, with its texts and symbols and rich assumptions, you have suddenly entered a compelling and light-saturated world, as familiar and yet as strange as the rooms and the gardens we inhabit every day, with their manifold hints of something more, something as close to you as the other side of the wall in front of you. As Starnes reminds us... it is we who have shut ourselves from the great mystery of God which is everywhere around us, and she is one of those rare poets who can show our spirits how to begin walking through those walls, as they can, with patience, do.

—Paul Mariani, author of Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Life, et al.

About A Commerce of Moments
Couplet by couplet, Sofia Starnes leads her readers on a poetic quest for understanding. Her perfect pitch and her acute sensitivity to the pace and nuances of language are reason enough for us to follow. A Commerce of Moments is a gathering of very special poems.

—Billy Collins

A Commerce of Moments is a work of awe-inspiring clarity and purity of language from a poet whose wide-awake eyes allow us to experience a vivid, lasting world. Blessed is a poet so connected to what is most essential to this life, and perhaps the next, too. This book will enchant; a fine collection indeed.

—Virgil Suarez

In this first collection, Starnes shows us a world-view of dilemmas treated with compassion of the rarest sort, the act of listening and composing with a vivid transfer of feeling. This book is a rare occasion of thorough enjoyment.

—David Baratier

About Corpus Homini: A Poem for Single Flesh...

Extended works of praise are few: Thomas Traherne's Centuries ("all was new and shining"), Christopher Smart's Jubilate Agno, Denise Levertov's O Taste and See... Sofia Starnes's Corpus Homini: A Poem for Single Flesh is a vital addition to the list. She begins with the old idea that we are stones (Ovid) or cages of bone, only to show that the spirit of life dances on our surfaces, while the flesh unites us to all creatures, their sense of the body as gift. Starnes does not cheat: "the aphids multiply," the body cells age. But there is joy on every page of Corpus Homini... as reliable as "the brown wren at the window," while the words of the poet are new, shining, and confident.

—Michael Mott, author of The World of Richard Dadd and
The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton