The Paris Review

Poetry Rx: Sometimes Sadness Is Just What Comes between the Dancing

In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion, and our resident poets—Sarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartz—take turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This week, Claire Schwartz is on the line.

©ELLIS ROSEN

Dear Poets,

I’m in a stable tumultuous relationship. I love my partner dearly, and she returns my enthusiasm. Some of the time. There are days when I feel love radiating off her, and others when I could not buy a kind word or any showing of support. I realize all relationships have ups and downs, and I’ve come to accept and respect my partner’s moods. Still, I find it very difficult to cope with things when I am on her bad side, especially if I myself am suffering. I try my best to communicate this to

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Credits
Cover: courtesy of Francesca Colussi. Pages 40–69, courtesy of Robert Hass; page 70, © 1998 by Fred Viebahn; page 73, © 1996 by Jock McDonald; page 77, © 2007 by Miriam Berkley; pages 106–23, courtesy of Francesca Colussi; pages 124, 139, courtesy of