Expanding breathlessly in the magnitude of loss, Shirley Camia's fourth collection, Mercy, confronts despair to emerge anew with a bright offering of elegy. Beginning at her mother's hospital bed, Camia invites readers to keep vigil while she journeys through seasons of bereavement, from the wake to the graveside, and into a year of processing, searching, and healing. Ethereal and elegant, Camia's reflections are grounded in grief as they do the aching, earth-shattering work of mourning and moving forward.
About the author
Shirley Camia is a broadcaster and journalist, born in Winnipeg to first-generation Filipino immigrants.
She has published three books of poetry including The Significance of Moths. Her work has been featured in North American publications such as The New Quarterly, CV2, TAYO and the Winnipeg Free Press, and the anthology, My Lot is a Sky, from Math Paper Press in Singapore. Born in Winnipeg, Shirley has lived across Canada, the Philippines, Japan and Kenya. She is currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Excerpt: Mercy (by (author) Shirley Camia)
a two-year-old smiles
at a shadow only he sees
of the separation
between the anguished
and a lightness in the air
sorrow's shell cracked
open with laughter
mercy in a christmas cactus
"What Camia captures so authentically in Mercy is the timelessness of loss. These poems evoke an elegiac mode that is as age-old as grief itself, while also inventing surprising ways to write around the perimeters of what's absent. It's a tribute to her mother's passing that invited me in with directness and generosity. From the remnants and rituals, from these "pieces that summon a whole / (hole)," these poems offer a fragile and continuous "treasure."--Phoebe Wang, Admission Requirements
"Here is an earth song, a death song, a grief song, sung with such gentleness and clarity that every detail, every remembered joy, every terrible moment of surrender, is lit up, vibrant, luminous: "a suitcase / brimming // with / sunflowers."--Di Brandt, Glitter & fall