Sofia M. Starnes
Poet, Editor, and Translator
My Approach to Writing
My Approach to Editing
My Approach to Writing

From Note to the Reader (an excerpt)
in The Consequence of Moonlight (2018):

The act of writing poetry is, for me, an emptying of self—a getting out of the way. In the poet’s stead is the poem, which becomes a place of resonance, where the reader might recognize a voice otherwise unheard. For this to occur the poet must be autobiographically silent, so that the poems, individually and as a whole, transform into depositories for the reader’s experience. The poem’s truth is its emotion echoed in the reader, nothing else.

 Resonance is relationship, and into this relationship, I pray, the Spirit comes. My hope is that The Consequence of Moonlight might be a poetic invitation to an awareness of this underlying Presence, as well as a call to be present as a loving witness to valuable and vulnerable things.

From a statement, to accompany the publication of Fully Into Ashes (2011):

Of all the things I hold dearest, none is as valuable as the belief expressed by the Holy Trinity; that is, Reality as Relationship. Of all the worldviews I might adopt, I would find none as fulfilling as the one expressed by the Incarnation; that is, the divine elevation of all that is real. In that commitment to the temporal, the Divine takes the physical world and all its beings, so that we no longer need to pine for the impossible or wish we were gods. These two experiences—I say experiences, because I consider belief to be experience—permeate and sustain all of my writing, no less so in my most recent book Fully Into Ashes. Here, the emphasis is on the flame of experience, fully occurring, from ash to ash. When I started writing the poems, of course, I did not know exactly where they would go, how much or how little they would embrace. But I knew when it was time to stop: when I sensed—as I did in the closing poem, “A Way Through Words”—what it meant to be co-creators of a new landscape, where both the spiritual and the physical are intimately wed, so that neither is quite real without the other. Interestingly though—at least interestingly for me—the journey was not over with the writing of the poems. When I was organizing the collection, I learned something else. The poems fell into three clear stages (ah, once more that intriguing and illuminating trinity). There is “Find”; that is, the initial awareness of whatever life proffers. Then, there is “Ache”, our growing experience of loss and longing, both of which define us. And ultimately, there is “Gift”, when what becomes clearest to us is that we are most often on the receiving end, having paid no price to equal its worth, of all that is Good.

From a statement, to accompany the publication of Corpus Homini (2008):

I write according to this dictum: "We write for ourselves and for a stranger." That stranger—the sought-after reader—would be someone for whom the poet's specific experience, the kernel of the poem, is far less important than the reader's own experience awakened through a connection with the emotional and spiritual truth of the poem. In this sense, the poem renews itself in the course of each acquisition.