Sofia M. Starnes
Poet, Editor, and Translator
Selected Presentations

Sofia M. Starnes is a writer of Philippine-Spanish heritage who has been an American citizen since 1989; she served as Virginia's Poet Laureate from 2012 to 2014.

Sofia 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, listed below. (For availability and purchase information, please visit the "Books & Reviews" page of this site, or contact Sofia directly, at
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, The Consequence of Moonlight , a full-length book, was published by Paraclete Press.

Additionally, Sofia has edited two anthologies. She is the editor ofFour 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 (VA) in 2013. More recently, she edited The Nearest Poem Anthology (Cedar Creek Press, 2014), the culmination of a project she initiated and brought to fruition during her tenure as poet laureate of Virginia.

In 2015, her English translation of the book Zobel, Paintings and Drawings, by Magaz Sangro, was published by Galer
ía Cayón in Madrid, Spain.

In 2017, Zobel:Contrapuntos/Zobel:Counterpoints, for which Sofia undertook the translation of all the original documents and critical essays, from Spanish to English, was published by the Ayala Foundation.

Sofia's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous 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 VirginiaGinosko, and Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets (Wipf and Stock, 2012), and the Virginia Writers Club Centennial Anthology. Her literary reviews have been featured in Christianity and the Arts, ImageUpdate, Presence, and Christianity and Literature. She serves as Poetry Editor and Poetry Book Review Editor forThe 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 the 2018 Ellen Anderson Award, from the Poetry Society of Virginia, a 2001 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, 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.

Sofia Starnes lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, with her husband Bill. She offers writing tutorials and comprehensive editing services to writers of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, through Creative Writing Critiques. (For more on Creative Writing Critiques, please see the Editing page.) She has undertaken numerous translation projects and serves as a translator of art essays and articles for Galeria Cayon (Madrid, Spain) and the Ayala Foundation (Manila, Philippines). 


For a conversational piece about Sofia's background and some thoughts about poetry, you may wish to read an interview, conducted by Leah Price of the Daily Press, by visiting the site:,0,