Ah, mythology, I’ll always love you.
In the poetry collection Great Goddesses, poet Nikita Gill examines, reinterprets, and re-frames the lives—both mortal and immortal—of Greek mythology, particularly those of the women. She gives a fresh perspective on these familiar tales, giving the often-sidelined women of the epics a chance to shine and tell their own stories.
I’ll admit, I am not the best at reading, understanding, or enjoying poetry much of the time. I don’t typically seek it out, but this collection was one I really wanted to read, not only to challenge myself but also because it’s mythology-related, and I’m me.
And I ended up really liking this! These poems are readable and beautiful and empowering. It was wonderful to see a new and unapologetically feminist perspective on the classics, particularly in terms of goddesses’s (and mortal women’s) relationships with the gods. Where most versions of these stories show relationships as being defined by ableism or male dominance, Gill re-frames these in better ways. No longer is the marriage between couples like Persephone and Hades something forced or unbalanced or toxic. Instead, the women are empowered, the stories reinterpreted in a way that says perhaps these women chose these men, perhaps there is more nuance when looked at from the perspective of the wife.
Also, I’m really invested in Aphrodite and Hephaestus’s relationship. I love them now; who knew that would happen?
In the end, this was a fantastic poetry collection. It’s gorgeous and uplifting and reflective. My only complaints are that the ending was a little abrupt, and we didn’t get any Antigone content; however, I will no longer be accepting any other interpretations of Aphrodite/Hephaestus and Persephone/Hades, because Gill has presented the best ones. If you like Madeline Miller (whom everyone should) you’ll like this! I’ll probably read it again, which might be a first for me and poetry.
Overall rating: 9/10
2 thoughts on “Book Review | Great Goddesses”
I’m not good at reading poetry either, but this looks like a beautiful book, especially for us mythology nerds. There’s been quite some attention given to female figures in Greek Mythology, and it just makes me happy 💫
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