Cassino: City of Martyrs/Citta Martire, by Robert Sullivan (Huia, RRP $30):
Poet Robert Sullivan has produced a collection of poetry that pays tribute to those who fought and died in Italy during World War II.
The pages of this book relay his thoughts as he travels through the cities in Italy that his grandfather fought in during the war, so at times the poems are intensely personal and emotional.
However, as personal as some of these poems are, they are also a story that so many of us have in common in our family history so the reader is very much involved.
Sullivan also covers the age-old questions of life and death, and also looks at the status of Maori in New Zealand.
And much like the experiences of those who fought in the war, the poems aren’t all doom and gloom – there are lovely snippets throughout that will make you smile.
The layers in this collection are impressive enough that you will feel like you are on the journey with the poet.
Our Soldiers, by Kate McColl ($30):
A touching collection of poems, Our Soldiers looks at the awful impact of World War I on the lives of ordinary Kiwis.
Author Kate McColl spent a month in Belguim, funded by that country’s government, and has also included a selection of poems that covers the battlefields of Flanders.
Her grandfather fought at Passchendale and her uncle died at Gallipoli (both men were originally from Colac Bay) so her family was among those to be touched by the events there.
Photos of New Zealand soldiers and scenery are mixed with imagery from Belgian artist Veerle Rooms to produce a bilingual book that is important to both countries.