Since the last two episodes of Stranger Things’ second season dropped this summer, the fandom around the suspenseful and nostalgic show has resurged. From the “Chrissy, Wake Up” song trending on TikTok to the fourth season being viewed for more than 1 billion hours on Netflix, it’s clear that the show’s unpredictable twists, otherworldly dangers, and powerful, tight-knit friendships have captured fans’ hearts. If you can’t get enough Hawkins, read these five poetry collections that exude the same themes and sentiments.
1. Surrealist Poetry: An Anthology edited by Willard Bohn
Stranger Things definitely explores the concept of surrealism, showcasing how dreams, the unconscious, and the uncanny can blur with daily life. If you love the show for how it resists realism and offers glimpses into The Upside Down, you just might love surrealist poetry. Willard Bohn’s anthology introduces readers to essential and ground-breaking works in the genre, with works spanning multiple countries and languages alongside award-winning translations.
2. Nocturnal by Wilder Poetry
Nocturnal leans into darkness, much like Stranger Things’ later seasons. The Wilder collection also contains illustrations of “dreamlike animals” and “blackened pages,” seemingly showcasing another world that comes alive during sleepless nights. Despite its gloomy and, at times, spooky subject matter, Nocturnal also strives to comfort readers and illuminate a path toward self-discovery. Similarly, Stranger Things balances its dark premise with wholesome friendships and heart-tugging character arcs.
3. The Migration of Darkness: Selected Science Fiction Poems by Peter Payack
If you love Stranger Things, there’s a strong chance you love the innovative, surprising, and futuristic genre of science fiction. Stranger Things has made new strides in this beloved genre, winning lots of awards and exposing new audiences to the thrills of fantastical characters and parallel universes. Peter Payack’s The Migration of Darkness: Selected Science Fiction Poems plays a similar role, with poems delving into otherworldly, interdimensional settings. The famed sci-fi poet has been published widely, including in The Paris Review and The New York Times.
4. Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
A red monster with wings might sound like a character straight out of The Upside Down, but he’s actually the protagonist of poet Anne Carson’s acclaimed novel-in-verse Autobiography of Red. Like some elements of Stranger Things, this multi-genre book takes inspiration from classics and mythology, bridging these age-old elements with decidedly modern stakes and storytelling.
5. 50 Things Kate Bush Taught Me About the Multiverse by Karyna McGlynn
Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” emerged as the song of the summer in 2022, more than two decades after its original release, thanks to its memorable feature in Stranger Things’ fourth season. The song encapsulates the vibrant and kitschy throwback vibes that contribute to the show’s clear point of view and aesthetic, with episodes often evoking a feeling of nostalgia for its audience. Karyna McGlynn’s 50 Things Kate Bush Taught Me About the Multiverse also takes inspiration from the ‘80s, allowing readers to travel back in time.
Looking for more ways to connect your love of streaming with your love of poetry? Check out our four fun TV recs for poets.