Helen Gildfind reviews Calenture for Mascara Literary Review: Tuggle maps the obscure, imaginative landscape that joins the living to the dead, the personal to the universal, and the abstract to the concrete.. . . In Calenture, two sisters are absolutely more than the sum of their parts, and the sophistication of Tuggle’s tightly crafted, cryptic and compelling ossuary—her home for the bones of the dead—becomes evident with each reading. Like the best poetry, this book is first and foremost an experience—one which no analysis can do justice to.
Rose Lucas reviews Calenture for Plumwood Mountain: “Precariously balanced on a threshold between life and death, these poems contemplate and dive and retrieve – making them both difficult and disorienting, while also eerily beautiful and seductive. Read together, they weave a siren song of the cross currents of grief as it tugs variously toward despair and refusal, the desire to somehow redeem what is lost and the desire to embrace, to follow into death’s alien fields. These are important poems which enact what poetry at its best is sometimes able to do: to enable a reader to make greater sense of life’s most difficult and otherwise unmanageable experiences.”
Autumn Royal reviews Calenture for Overland: "an elegiac exploration encompassing the violent realities/histories imposed upon non-conformist individuals and their bodies after death. This includes a return to asylums, psychiatric case histories, and the criminalisation of mental illness. Tuggle exposes and concentrates many of her poems on the political economies of death and mourning, with the elegy as a form of ‘transaction’ with loss . . . . There are multiple forms of bodies focused on throughout Calenture, including the bodies of the deceased, grieving bodies, the bodies of books bound in human skin and Tuggle’s body of poetry. Calenture strikingly entwines these bodies and allows for the insight that: ‘We are all flesh / toying architecturally with bone’. And as Tuggle stresses: ‘Every elegy needs an author. And then, an autopsy.’”
From before and backward
a pair of cavernous bodies
diverge and descend.
Certain accessories linger.
A book bound in triage,
a sanguine invalid. Ladylike, then
an accumulation of same
materials: thin, smooth, red.
. . .
To best display her character
no other decoration is placed.
This book deserves its own human cover.
“I had long saved for this purpose
the skin of a woman’s back.”
Clothe me in your military shawl.
He says, the inscription of a cello
would gild the lily. Leave it lost
in translation, this brutal homage:
a tattoo I regret but rarely see.
selection from “An Elementary Treatise on Human Anatomy”
Calenture (Melbourne: Cordite, 2018)