Expanding breathlessly in the magnitude of loss, 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 work of mourning and moving forward.
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
Camia’s clear and concise lines echo the unsayable and the difficult in trails that simulate the staccato beating of the heart.
Shirley Camia’s collection managed to capture her journey with grief and loss in a captivatingly raw way... Her pain translates in these poems as does her slowly coming to terms with her loss. There’s no disconnect in regards to what any readers need to understand about this collection. It’s meant to be personal , emotional and possibly uncomfortable to read. And while the grief is individual, as is any type grief, each poem reminds the reader that healing isn’t linear. It’s a process.
Marías at Sampaguitas
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