When I Read Diagnostic under CONFIDENTIAL

I think it’s related to esoteric mystical knowledge      
like predicting rain from moisture in moss
or life through the aleph bet of gematria             

should you wear a raincoat in this new
world of extreme weather                but the word
is just a fancy way to say test
say people spent their careers devising methods
to organize minds on a bell curve 

what is the etymology of evaluation
now that’s a better word            all about worth
about value dependent on people’s subjectivity
to get it going           and together        diagnostic
and evaluation are the appraisal and catalog
so what’s your price.

by Sarah Shapiro

News from the Centre: we are pleased to say that our new online course, Fire Up Your Poetry Practice: Professionalising Your Poetry, has proved very popular, and just one place remains on the session on 22 June entitled ‘Working with other people’. This session is led by poet and researcher Susie Campbell and will explore alternative routes into publication through collaboration and creative projects. To sign up for this event, please visit the Brookes Shop. If you would like to join the waiting list for any other session (listed on our website), please e-mail us at poetrycentre@brookes.ac.uk

When I Read Diagnostic under CONFIDENTIAL’ is copyright © Sarah Shapiro, 2021. It is reprinted from being called normal (tall-lighthouse, 2021) by permission of tall-lighthouse. You can read more about the pamphlet on the tall-lighthouse website.

Notes from tall-lighthouse:

This engaging sequence is written as a direct response, through poetry, to the clinical experiences of the poet in how the ‘system’ accepts and treats (or doesn’t) children with (dys)abilities. As a poet, Sarah Shapiro has strived to be called normal whilst growing up with ‘reading issues’. The poems are a dialogue between her documented psycho-educational evaluations and her reaction to the analysis and words used. Interspersed between these ‘conversations’ are heartfelt poems that expose the tribulations of people who are carelessly labelled (dys).

Read more about the pamphlet and hear Sarah read two of the poems from it on the tall-lighthouse website

Sarah Shapiro was born in Chicago and now lives and works in Boston. She has an MFA from UMASS Boston, an MA from Royal Holloway University, London and a BA from Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts. She did not start to read until she was eight, so her success is well earned. Her poetry has been widely published in magazines and on-line and her debut pamphlet The Bullshit Cosmos was published by ignitionpress and you can read more about it on the Poetry Centre website.

tall-lighthouse has a reputation for publishing exciting new poetry, being the first to publish Sarah Howe, Helen Mort, Liz Berry, Jay Bernard, Ailbhe Darcy, Rhian Edwards, Vidyan Ravinthiran, Emily Berry and many others. Learn more about the press on the  tall-lighthouse website and follow tall-lighthouse on Facebook and Twitter.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.