Sacred impulse, poetic form

For Sofia Starnes, poetry is the language of faith.

Sofia Starnes writes in her title poem: “The consequence of moonlight / is a sigh, and saints out in the garden, strong / and pure, lift stories, as if bodies, // to the sky.” These lines express the gist of the whole volume, the interweaving of saints and stories as bodies (both heavenly and earthly) reflect a greater light.

In her note to readers, Starnes explains her poetic mode. Her metaphorical way of thinking aims to link readers to the call of the infinite, since metaphor is the best response finite beings can make to that for which there is no correspondence. This linking is vital, Starnes believes, for a poet of the sacred—and essential to that work is the poet’s own self-emptying, a sort of kenosis. She writes:

The act of writing poetry is, for me, an emptying of self—a getting out of the way. In the poet’s stead is the poem, which becomes a place of resonance, where the reader might recognize a voice otherwise unheard. For this to occur the poet must be autobiographically silent, so that the poems, individually and as a whole, transform into depositories for the reader’s experience.