These poems come from a book-length sequence centred in Italy. My grandfather served in the Italian campaign of WWII, along with many others, in the Maori Battalion. He did not serve at Cassino; I chose to name the book Cassino City of Martyrs / Cassino Citta Martire because I was moved by seeing a plaque there dedicated to the city from the people of Italy giving it that name. At the time of my visit, I was living with my family in Honolulu, and so the poem called ‘A Parallel’ talks about the treatment of Japanese Americans during the war, many of whom were residents of Hawai‘i. It occurred to me there was a parallel between the American Japanese infantry battalion and the Maori Battalion, but of course that is up to the reader. For geography’s sake, Cassino town is below the very steep Montecassino massif. The Benedictine abbey at the top can be reached by driving up a long spiralling road.

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