The Significance of Moths

The Significance of Moths by Shirley Camia


The Significance of Moths

There is a belief, in Filipino culture, that the recently deceased may return in the form of a moth. Though their bodies disintegrate, their spirits linger on.


Fragile but insistent, these spirit-memories permeate Shirley Camia’s collection of poetry, The Significance of Moths. In her latest work, Camia exposes her experiences in Canada as a child of immigrants. Although true for many, the newcomer experience magnifies the “strands of the past” that are “bound to the present.” Like a voyager though time and space, she perceives her present through a film of nostalgia for a home she never knew, while she faces a future laden with the expectations of a family who risked everything for a better tomorrow.

Advanced Praise

With sparse and precise language, Shirley Camia’s poetry collection, The Significance of Moths, reconsiders how we communicate between distance, loss, and home. The parade of elephants, the pocketful of snow, and bullet-shaped weight, of mourning, the images captures our attention and pleads with us to see the dance of the moth before it is over.

Sharanpal Ruprai, author of Seva

These poems are quick, sharp stabs from the blade of a supremely talented poet. With a gorgeously understated emotional range anchoring a wide intellectual landscape, entire worlds exist in a Shirley Camia moment. She may be the best minimalist poet writing in Canada today.

Joe Cummings, author of Threats and Gossip


Camia masterfully employs a minimalist poetic style—strings of short, abrupt thoughts are packed with expressive meaningful imagery.

Room Magazine, 40.3

The Significance of Moths is one of those collections of free verse that will linger in the mind and memory long after the slender volume has been finished and set back upon the shelf.

Midwest Book Review

This is the kind of poetry I think of when lamenting the fact that more people don't read poetry... highly accessbile yet complex. At once laconic and rich, her verse is a testament to the power of economy in language.

Annick MacAskill, Contemporary Verse 2

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