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Sofia M. Starnes author's photo

Sofia Starnes won the third annual Whitebird Chapbook Series competition for her collection, Corpus Homini: A Poem for Single Flesh (Wings, 2008). Her first full length collection from Wings Press will appear in April, 2011: Fully Into Ashes.

Sofia M. Starnes was born in Manila and educated in Madrid. She arrived in the United States in 1986 and became a U.S. citizen in 1989. Currently, she is the Poetry Editor for the Anglican Theological Review. Her previous publications include The Soul's Landscape (Aldrich, 2002), co-winner of the Aldrich Chapbook Poetry Award, judged by Billy Collins, and A Commerce of Moments (Pavement Saw Press, 2003), Editor's Choice in the Transcontinental Poetry Book Prize and a Poetry Honor Book in the Library of Virginia Literary Awards Competition. Her poems and essays have also appeared in numerous literary journals, including Hayden's Ferry, Laurel Review, Notre Dame Review, Gulf Coast, Southern Poetry Review, Marlboro Review, and Pleiades.

Starnes's poetry has been recognized in a variety of ways. She is the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Rainer Maria Rilke Poetry Award, the Marlboro Poetry Award (Editor's Choice), the Christianity and Literature Poetry Prize, and a Pushcart Prize nomination, among other citations. Sofia Starnes lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, with her husband Bill.

Artist's Statement

(From Corpus Homini: 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 truth of each poem. In this sense, the poem renews itself in the course of each acquisition.

2011 Artist's Statement

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.

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