NOS (disorder, not otherwise specified)
Authors: Aby Kaupang and Matthew Cooperman
Publisher: Futurepoem Books (2018)
"We think we know how our lives should be; we know how words fit together in a sentence. We use tests and benchmarks, charts and graphs, rules and spell-checks, to affirm these truths. Maya—the little girl at the center of this book—confounds such ways of knowing. Innominate, she inspires this book's form and sound, similarly unclassifiable. In NOS, Kaupang and Cooperman fight for a new grammar beyond the limits of standardized lines, to 'let loose the radiant / circle of her sentence.' It's a grammar we all need."
"In their compelling and moving collaboration, Aby Kaupang and Matthew Cooperman chronicle the challenges and occasional triumphs of raising a child with autism. The three letters of the book's title, NOS, embody the reduction—the negation—of individuals and bodies to medical and psychoanalytic acronyms. The poets realize, however, that the designation of autism to describe their daughter is only a placeholder for a disorder 'Not Otherwise Specified,' one which impels them into the vagaries of evaluation, diagnosis, and intervention. Nor does the designation describe the affective challenges of dealing with behavioral anomalies, silences, screaming fits, sleeplessness and trauma. At its core, the work celebrates a child's life, however difficult, in passages that testify to the family's resilience. Its rich formal complexity combines lyrical testimony with documentary objectivity. NOS is a vital contribution to disability poetics but also to a critical poetics of embodiment. It is a remarkable book."
"NOS is a book any parent of a child on the autism spectrum will recognize themselves in. In it are recorded our uncertainty, and our alienation, and our love, and our love, and our joy. But it is also art, primarily and always so, and often shines with a beauty that is painful to see and more painful to ignore—indeed, NOS does all that can be asked of art: it expands human understanding of humanity itself."