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Member Showcase: July 2014

 

Sofia Starnes

Poet Laureate of Virginia and

Editor of 

The Nearest Poem Anthology

 

Tune in to XTRA 99.1FM to hear the Editor interviewed by Neal Steele on CBW's Second Monday monthly broadcast, July 14th at about 8:05AM. If you missed the live broadcast, play the podcast now:

 

About the Book

"Much more than a collection of classic and contemporary poetry, The Nearest Poem Anthology is a rare gift of memory and insight from editor and 2012-2014 Poet Laureate of Virginia Sofia Starnes. Through brief partner essays, the collection leads us to that very magical moment when Virginia readers of all ages and backgrounds first interacted with the poem that continues to most move, inspire, comfort, or challenge them. Their discoveries become ours; their journeys with and because of poetry take up residence in our lives. As Starnes explains in her introduction, “Poetry allows us to see ourselves as we are and the world as it truly is.” Through the everyday and extraordinary experiences of these engaged readers, we see the world more deeply.

Step into the room as a woman cares for a sister with brain cancer and remembers the poem “Heft.” Listen with a daughter as her ninety-year-old mother recites Kipling. Take in Dorianne Laux’s “Dust,” as one reader did, then take up your pen to write. With another, skip along sidewalks in tune with A. A. Milne’s “Lines and Squares.” Through the pages of The Nearest Poem Anthology, uncover poetry in a video game, a father’s weathered wallet, a classroom, a joke with an ailing relative, a child’s confidence, a city, an addiction, a prayer.

This anthology touched me as a reader, as a poet, as an anthology editor, as a teacher, and most importantly, as a human being. It reminded me, in new and powerful ways, how an individual poem can change forever the life of an individual. Such first encounters belong to us all."

—Poet Marjorie Maddox, coeditor of Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania
 

About the Author

SOFIA M. STARNES, Virginia poet laureate from 2012-2014, is a writer of Philippine-Spanish heritage who has been an American citizen since 1989. She was born in Manila 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 five 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 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.

Sofia's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in over 100 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 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, three 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 2014, she was Commencement speaker at the University of Virginia at Wise.

Sofia Starnes lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, with her husband Bill. She offers writing tutorials and editing services to writers of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, through Creative Writing Critiques.
 

E-Mail Sofia <----> Visit her Website/Order Books

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