In 2012, Sofia M. Starnes was appointed Poet Laureate of Virginia by Governor McDonnell. Starnes is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Fully Into Ashes and Love and the Afterlife. In addition to a Fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, she has received numerous awards for her work, including the Aldrich Poetry Prize, the Transcontinental Poetry Editor’s Prize, the Whitebird Poetry Series Prize, the Rainer Maria Rilke Poetry Prize, and the Virginia Writers Club Superior Achievement Award in Poetry.

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Literary Magazine Virginia Quarterly Review Virginia
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Writing Program Virginia Commonwealth University Virginia
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Literary Organization The Virginia Writers Club Virginia
Writing Program The University of Virginia Virginia
Conference The Annual Literary Festival at Old Dominion University Virginia


I’m older than my father when he turned
bright gold and left his body with its used-up liver
in the Faulkner Hospital, Jamaica Plain.  I don’t 
believe in the afterlife, don’t know where he is 
now his flesh has finished rotting from his long 
bones in the Jewish Cemetery—he could be the only 
convert under
Just past dusk I passed Christiansburg,
cluster of lights sharpening
as the violet backdrop of the Blue Ridge
darkened. Not stars
but blue-black mountains rose
before me, rose like sleep
after hours of driving, hundreds of miles
blurred behind me. My eyelids
were so heavy but I could see
far ahead a summer