For a book featuring a lot of sex, The Romantic – whose title could be ironic, acerbic, or hopeful – disgust is not the most obvious predominant motif readers might expect. Yet it punctuates the text, cutting the protagonist, Kate, as she travels through Italy with a stack of Romantic poetry and a desire for freedom – to be ‘a ghost’. Il buon tempo verrà: the good time is coming, she records in her notebook, borrowing words that Shelley had inscribed on a ring. Future tense: Il buon tempo is not part of her present.
Felicity Plunkett reviews 'The Romantic' by Kate Holden
The Romantic: Italian Nights and Days
by Kate Holden
Text Publishing, $32.95 pb, 240 pp, 9781921656743
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Felicity Plunkett is a poet and critic. Her first collection of poetry Vanishing Point (UQP, 2009) won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Prize and was shortlisted for several other awards. She has a chapbook Seastrands (2011) in Vagabond Press’ Rare Objects series. Her new collection A Kinder Sea is forthcoming. Felicity was Poetry Editor for University of Queensland Press and edited Thirty Australian Poets (UQP, 2011). She has a PhD from the University of Sydney and her reviews and essays have been widely published in The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Book Review, Sydney Review of Books etc. Her essay ‘Sound Bridge’, a portrait of Indigenous Australian musician Dr G. Yunupingu, was first published in Australian Book Review and anthologised in Best Australian Essays 2015 (Black Inc, ed. Geordie Williamson).
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