Lindsay Tuggle

Lindsay Tuggle has been widely published in journals and anthologies, including: Cordite, Contrapasso, HEAT, Mascara, Rabbit, and The Hunter Anthology of Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry(2016). She was short-listed for the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize, judged by Simon Armitage.  Her work has been recognised by major literary awards, including: the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize (shortlisted 2015), the Val Vallis Award for Poetry (second prize 2009, third prize 2014), and the Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s Poetry Prize (shortlisted 2016, longlisted 2014).  Her first collection, Calenture, is forthcoming with Cordite Publishing. The manuscript evolved from residential writing fellowships awarded by institutions including the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Library of Congress, and the Mütter Museum of Philadelphia. Tuggle also writes on intersections of poetry and science. The University of Iowa Press’s Whitman Series invited her first book, The Afterlives of Specimens: Science and Mourning in Whitman’s America (forthcoming in 2017).  She wrote a chapter on ‘Poetry and Medicine’ for Cambridge University Press’sWhitman in Context (2017).   She teaches literary studies at Western Sydney University.


asylum, pageantry


it is best not to dream for long here
medicine disallows her florid stutter

skull calligraphy adorns
the austerity of wounds

a face cut by gravel
the floor observes her fall

cervine lesions embossed
with a queen’s head

siege follows invitation
the graceless mercy

of a master brought low
by his own hand

ungroomed and carnivorous
you dazzle me

if there were amnesty for the dead
we would be strangers still

our tongues bruised by
the flesh of angels

this, my apologia
they only come when you call


her gamine regression
discards once sinewy form

his archival hoard
to loom and seclude

her catalogue of false scars
triptych for an aspirational recluse

it is a problem without a solution
namely, asylum envy

‘for reasons of history
I want bedlam

or to be bedridden
or just to not be looked at like that

leitmotif: diorama girls in feral dress
(cue dirt eating in hotel)

in their dyadic correspondence
the body is entirely absent

her assassin says
I’d love to work

but there’s no money
in art only death pays

recipient unknown,

        in the morning we wear
        each other’s faces


she’s prettier now
in coffined silhouette

after these many years
oddly blonder than before

someday soon we will inherit
each other’s faces:
        evangelical and unlovely

do I covet her still
diluted by sleep

the concave half of a sister
long unburdened by skin

after her austere conversion
it’s all tithe and ruin

a nest of mouths speak of Jesus
in bandaged tongues

nice work if you can get it

we won’t be sequestered
in post-curatorial syndrome

suppress an exhibitionist’s desire
to salt her own wound, publicly

back at the fallout shelter
all the other feral anorexics

trace coal dust in the genealogy
of chemical squalls and delicate tibias

ascension is just another compulsion
to light and return

I love the dead more than you
        and always will