8 Non-fiction Articles to Pair with Homer’s Odyssey

non-fiction articles for Homer's OdysseyLast time on Next Time Teaching we were talking about poems to teach with Homer’s Odyssey. But I know a lot of people are trying to get in more non-fiction, either because of the common core, or Kelly Gallagher’s Article of the Week, or just because hey, the real world makes for interesting discussions.  So without further ado, here are 8 non-fiction pieces that also go well with The Odyssey.



  1. This National Geographic interview with Adam Nicolson (the author of Why Homer Matters). One great topic discussed is the relevance of The Odyssey: “Odysseus is the great metaphor for all of our lives: struggling with storms, coming across incredibly seductive nymphs, finding himself trapped between impossible choices. I suddenly thought, This is talking to me in a way I would never have guessed before.”  Nicolson also talks about what bards are, a topic which goes well with book 8 when Demodocus performs.
  2. An NPR piece on a psychiatrist who uses literature about war to help veterans.
  3. Another piece on the difficulty of veterans returning home.  Bonus points if you can tie it in to Veteran’s Day!
  4. This New York Times piece on fossils and what the ancients thought of them has some interesting interdisciplinary connections.  Especially good with the story of the Cyclops in Book 9.
  5. This travel piece from the New York Times is fairly sophisticated, but has many connections to The Odyssey and might be useful if you’re doing an assignment with maps or travel brochures.
  6. A short video on where the actual harbor of Ithaca might be.  Teenagers might not consider it exactly scintillating, but it is a nice connection if you’ve got 5 extra minutes when teaching books 13 or 14.
  7. Wait, there’s an eclipse in The Odyssey?!  A great connection for 2017 (and it’s not too early to start thinking about the next one in 2024).
  8. This Wall Street Journal article requires a subscription (or your school’s database), but the topic of what it means to be a hero is very relevant.

I hope those help with your “time on the boat” (as I think of teaching The Odyssey).  I’d love to do more text suggestions on the blog, so let me know if there’s something you teach that you’d like paired passages for.

2 thoughts on “8 Non-fiction Articles to Pair with Homer’s Odyssey

  1. Elizabeth Simpson

    Could you please update the Wall Street Journal link? It seems to have been lost in the ether.

    Thank you so much.

    1. queenbee Post author

      Elizabeth, I’m so sorry I missed your comment. The link should be fixed now. Thanks for letting me know!


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