Commencement 2014: Keynote Speaker

Starnes is 2014 Commencement Speaker at UVa-Wise

Poet Sofia M. Starnes will deliver the keynote address during the 2014 Commencement exercises at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise on Saturday, May 10, at 11 a.m. on the Lawn by the Lake.

Starnes, who was appointed Poet Laureate of Virginia in 2012, is the author of fiveSofia Starnes 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.

Her chapbook, The Soul's Landscape,”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,” won the Editor's Prize in the 2001 Transcontinental Poetry Award competition and was named Honor Book in the 2004 Virginia Literary Awards competition.

Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in close to 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.

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.

She is the recipient of 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.

Starnes lives in Williamsburg, Va. with her husband, Bill. She received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree (D. Litt.) from Union College (Ky.) last year.