Shirley’s latest work, Children Shouldn’t Use Knives, is forthcoming with At Bay Press. Watch for it in September 2017.

In the meantime, you can purchase Shirley’s second collection of poems, The Significance of Moths, with Turnstone Press.


“Always powerfully understated and delicately fierce, these poems had Today’s book of poetry convinced that they are both a lament and a proud celebration.  These poems are front line reports about what people will do for the love of family, for hope.

This is brave, bright poetry distilled and pure.”

– Michael Dennis, Canadian poet

“… most readers will find The Significance of Moths to exist in that rare intersection of sophistication and accessibility that so many poetry collections cannot sustain.”

– Stephen Hong Sohn, Assistant Professor, University of California Riverside

“In their concision, her poems read like concentrated versions of longer works, their images and characters evoking greater backstories and a raw, palpable tension, lending a heft to Camia’s slight volume.

… the beauty of Camia’s language is undeniable. 

At once laconic and rich, her verse is a testament to the power of economy in language.” 

– Annick MacAskill, CV2

“Contemplative and affecting, The Significance of Moths burrows itself into the consciousness as an earworm would.”

– Beatrice Paez, Shameless Magazine

“Her sense of the Filipino-Canadian ‘home’ is as spiritual as it is temporal or geographic. Home is, as the moth reminds us, where our beloved and their spirit endures.” 

Ang Peryodiko

“The Winnipeg-born Camia (who now lives in Toronto) combines her own memories with an attempt to capture cultural memory, the experience of Filipino immigrants. The poems recover moments through sharp, strong images — a cardinal is ‘a matador’s flag / for the bull / of winter’ and certain remembered men had ‘faces / cracked like roasted pig skin’ that ‘sent out smoky circles / cut by children chasing chickens.'”

– Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press

“ ‘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

“ ‘The Significance of Moths’ is a hauntingly beautiful look at the migration process.”

– Matt Dione, AWS Publishing

You can purchase The Significance of Moths on Amazon or Chapters/Indigo.

You can also purchase Shirley’s debut collection of poems, Calliope.


“This graceful collection takes the reader through a wonderfully vivid series of thoughts and moments that linger with a welcomed ease while at the same time revealing the often cold sobriety of raw human experience.

It is the type of work we should demand of all our artists: honest and intelligent, and at all times beautiful.

Shirley Camia is an exciting new talent.”

– Joe Cummings, Canadian poet and CBC broadcaster

“Shirley Camia’s first collection of poems is not to be missed.

Bringing together the sinuous lines of Kay Ryan with the cool, uncluttered vision of a Haiku master, she invites us into a world at once resolutely unsentimental and intensely personal: as she writes:

let us / on this day / be friends”

– Ted Goossen, literary critic and translator of Japanese literature