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The Iliad and the Odyssey

6 Poetry Books for When you Need an Escape

With the heaviness of the world, a good collection of poetry can provide an emotional or imaginative escape. It can offer solace and a place to shift your focus to, helping you move into a whole new mindset. Let’s explore two categories of poetry books that offer their own unique escapes for readers: escape into nature and escape into fantasy. 

 

Escape Into Nature

 

A Thousand Mornings – Mary Oliver

This collection by Mary Oliver is a reflective and thoughtful meditation on nature and our everyday experiences. It is rich in imagery and calls readers to experience awe and adoration for the physical world. It also encourages us to think about the seemingly ordinary yet wildly magical realities of our days. Oliver’s poetry gives us an opportunity to step into a peaceful land full of nature, beauty, and thoughtful contemplation.

 

Nocturnal – Wilder

Wilder is a poet known not only for her words but for her delicate and beautiful aesthetic. Nocturnal is full of stunning illustrations and profound poetic imagery. Readers are drawn into a world where healing is encouraged and emotions are explored in a safe space—and in strikingly stunning ways. She takes readers on a journey through love, loss, identity, and more in a cathartic way. 

 

Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass – Lana Del Rey 

From soulful singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey comes this beautiful debut collection of poetry, Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass. This hardcover book includes the artist’s typewritten pages and her own photography to create a harmonious and unique experience for the reader. Described as “achingly romantic” by Vogue, this book is sure to be a lovely extension of the artistic style we have come to know and love from Del Rey’s music as she explores new ways to express the artistic and melodic musings of her heart with the world. 

 

Escape into Fantasy

 

The Iliad and The Odyssey – Homer

These two Greek epic poems are must-reads for poetry lovers and adventurers alike. This collection is rich in Greek mythology, each epic focusing on different characters and themes. The Iliad tells of the Trojan War and explores the concepts of valor and glory through characters like Achilles. The Odyssey picks up the story 10 years after the fall of Troy and follows the Greek hero Odysseus with a focus on intellect over physical strength and the complicated relationship between actions and their consequences. Full of action, symbolism, and rich storytelling, this collection will allow you to enter a world of sheer adventure. 

 

Fierce Fairytales – Nikita Gill

This collection by Nikita Gill reimagines the traditional fairy tale trope of a damsel in distress, giving women the spotlight in a new and refreshing way. This book is all about encouraging and celebrating women for the strength of their own stories. It is also illustrated by the author, giving readers a fully magical experience from start to finish. Take some time to escape into a world of unstoppable heroines and incredible imagery. 

 

Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary – J.R.R. Tolkien

Calling all Lord of the Rings fans! J.R.R. Tolkien himself spent a lot of time poring over Beowulf to provide his own translation and commentary in this special edition of the epic poem. The things he loved about Beowulf—dragons, heroes, adventure, and monsters—have been evident to readers for centuries and continue to reach new generations. In the same way that Tolkien fans immerse themselves in Middle-earth, Beowulf gives us an epic land to journey through together. 

 

No matter which poetic collection you choose, each offers a unique opportunity to step into another headspace for a few hours. Enjoy your escape!