The Paris Review

Poetry Rx: Pleasure as a Means

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, Sarah Kay is on the line.

Original illustration by Ellis Rosen.

Dear Poets,

My cousin is getting married in a month. We were born ten days apart, which we take pride in like we planned it, and grew up like sisters. We drifted a bit and now work different hours and are states away. We have a tradition of writing something to each other before momentous occasions. I’ve always looked up to her—she’s an adventurous, kind soul and has shouldered a lot of unexpected responsibility with grace. I have this well of happiness for her and her soon-to-be husband, but I’m having trouble expressing it. I know she’d appreciate even a simple “I’m

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Paris Review

The Paris Review5 min read
Our Town and the Next Town Over
The author as a child, dressed as Oscar the Grouch. Every year it floods on three sides of our town. I do not know how any town could have floods on three sides, but there it is. My mom says it is because the very rich people who live on the lake to
The Paris Review11 min read
Voyage around My Cell
© Mathier / Adobe Stock. When I was eight my views on literature were precise and unshakable and my confidence in myself much greater than it is now. I had decided O. Henry was the world’s best author. During Prohibition, the folks who bought one of
The Paris Review9 min read
The Stuntwoman Named for a Continent
In the late summer of 1866 a Black equestrian stuntwoman made her Paris debut and galvanized the city. She was known only as “Sarah the African,” and history has left us few traces of her: just some battered posters, inky clippings and burlesque scri