The Paris Review

Poetry Rx: Then the Letting Go

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 column has run weekly for over a year, and now, our dear and busy poets must slow it down to once a month. Never fear — they’ll still be here, just a bit less often. This month, Claire Schwartz is on the line.

©ELLIS ROSEN

Dear Poets,

Two years ago, I came out of the closet to my family by introducing them to my girlfriend. They responded fairly negatively, expressing their disbelief (“we would have known if you were gay”) and disapproval (“it’s not something we believe in or support”). I have pushed back in many ways—bringing my girlfriend to family functions, being hypervisible online, and proclaiming the steadfastness and validity of my relationship in frequent and intense fights. In the wake of this, my relationship, which did not have a strong foundation

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