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He was born in 1970 in Montreal, Quebec, into an Italian heritage. His first poetry collection The New World (1997) was nominated for the 1997 A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry and the 1997 Gerald Lampert Award. His second collection Credo (2000) won the 2001 Canadian Authors Associate Prize for Poetry and the 2001 David McKeen Award for Poetry. He has also written A Lover's Quarrel (2004), a book of essays on Canadian poetry, and With English Subtitles (2004), a third collection of poems, which won a Bressani Award and the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry. Starnino's fourth collection, This Way Out (2009), was nominated for a Governor General's Literary Award in Poetry and, again, won the A.M. Klein prize. Starnino's most recent books are Lazy Bastardism (2012), a collection of essays and reviews, and Leviathan (2016) a book of poems.
He is the editor of Signal Editions, and was formerly editor-in-chief of Maisonneuve. Starnino is currently deputy editor of The Walrus.
Starnino is well known for the provocative nature of his criticism and pointedness of his opinions, which have incited a variety of heated counter-criticisms from other poets and critiques.
- The New World. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997.
- Credo. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2000.
- With English Subtitles. Kentville, N.S.: Gaspereau Press, 2004.
- This Way Out. Kentville, N.S.: Gaspereau Press, 2009.
- Leviathan. Kentville, N.S.: Gaspereau Press, 2016.
- A Lover's Quarrel. Erin, Ont.: Porcupine's Quill, 2004.
- Lazy Bastardism. Kentville, N.S.: Gaspereau Press, 2012.
- David Solway: Essays on His Works. Toronto: Guernica, 2001.
- The New Canon. Montreal: Vehicule Press, 2005.
- John Glassco and the Other Montreal. Victoria: Frog Hollow Press, 2011.
- The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2012. Toronto: Tightrope, 2012.
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