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English Literature - Poetry Guide

Find Articles

When searching for journal articles, an indexing and abstracting database is usually the best place to begin. Below are some recommended databases for research in Poetry. For other databases, check the Article Databases page of the library website.

Key Resources

  • Literature Online
    Literature Online offers full text access to rare and inacessible works, up-to-date, reference resources, in addition to the full text of poetry, drama, and prose fiction from the seventh century to the present day. Materials are included from almost every period and genre of English literature as well as many works by 20th century authors. Contemporary criticism is available through the Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL).
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Modern Language Association (MLA) International Bibliography & Directory of Periodicals (EBSCO)
    MLA International Bibliography is a subject index for books, articles and websites published on modern languages, literature, folklore, film, literary theory and criticism, dramatic arts, as well as the historical aspects of printing and publishing. Listings on rhetoric and composition and the history, theory and practice of teaching language and literature are also included. Dating back to 1925, the database contains more than 2.7 million citations, over 6,000 journals and series, 1,200 book publishers and over 372,000 subject names and terms and adds over 66,000 records annually (May 2018).

    Coverage is international and includes titles and full-text links from online publishers including JSTOR, Project MUSE, Wiley-Blackwell and Taylor & Francis.

    The MLA Directory of Periodicals contains all information available on the journals and series on the bibliography's Master List of Periodicals.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Literature Criticism Online
    Provides Online access to the content of the following reference works on literature: Twentieth-century literary criticism, Nineteenth-century literature criticism, Literature criticism 1400-1800, Shakespeare criticism, Contemporary literary criticism, and Children's literature review.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Additional Resources

  • Canadian Periodicals Index Quarterly (CPI.Q)
    Indexes over 400 Canadian periodicals (English and French) with full-text and reports from 165 periodicals.
    Limited to single-user access.
  • Academic Search Premier (EBSCO)
    Academic Search Premier is a multidisciplinary resource that "provides journal coverage for most academic areas of studies."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • JSTOR Archival Collection
    JSTOR provides access to back issues of a variety of scholarly journals. UNB Libraries currently subscribes to the Arts & Sciences (I through X) collections, along with the Life Sciences and Ireland collections.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Project Muse
    "Project MUSE covers the fields of literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, and many others." UNB subscribes to almost 400 eJournals, and provides access to select Open Access eBooks.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Encyclopedias, etc.

When researching a new topic it is often necessary to get an overview, explanations of unfamiliar terms, or brief factual information. The print and electronic resources listed below include selected reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopaedias, handbooks, guides, and standards) for the field of Poetry. To find additional reference materials, check the library catalogue (UNB WorldCat) or our Encyclopedias, etc database.

Key Resources

  • Contemporary Poets [HIL-REF PR603 .C6 1991]

    Cited in Sheehy. This revised edition of the standard reference on living poets in the English language now includes 900 poets. Each entry includes biography, complete list of published works, guide to criticism of the poet, and critical evaluative essay. The foreword to this edition, by Diane Wakoski, is everything her admirers (and rivals) would expect--contentious and compelling--virtually a summary of the current state of American poetry. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • ECW's Biographical Guide to Canadian Poets [multiple locations HIL-REF PS8081 .E33 1993]

    This matched pair of books is not a good choice for most libraries on several counts. First, the paper binding will not withstand normal library use. But more important, the contents are not what the publisher suggests. The promotional literature states that all major Canadian authors are included, but French Canadian novelists and poets are excluded. Even among English Canadians, many popular authors have been passed over, including L.M. Montgomery (famous for her Anne of Green Gables series) and W.P. Kinsella (author of Shoeless Joe, the novel on which the movie Field of Dreams was based). Also missing are Arthur Hailey (Airport), W.D. Valgardson, and several others. Given the current sensitivity toward balance for ethnic minorities, it should be noted that aboriginal Canadians are not included in appropriate numbers. Women are also underrepresented relative to their contribution to Canadian literature. Finally, none of the writers included was born within the past 50 years. The books' organizational features are also a concern: neither volume has a preface or introduction; entries are listed chronologically by the writers' birthdates; and there is no alphabetical index to the contents, so it is tedious to determine whether on not a given author is included. The selection criteria used by the editors (who are not identified on the title page) are not explained, and the credentials of the contributors are not supplied. Entries vary in length from two to ten pages, and there is no standard format, resulting in inconsistencies in treatment. Five writers who are both novelists and poets are covered in both volumes. In one case the same essay is used; in others there are different essays by the same contributor, or essays by different contributors. For biographical information, the volumes of Dictionary of Literary Biography that treat Canadian authors (v. 53, 60, 68, 88, 92, 99) are a much better choice. The titles are recommended here (but without enthusiasm) only for smaller libraries that do not own DLB. From: Syndetics Solutions, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry in Collected and Selected Works, The [HIL-REF PN1022 .C63 2004]

    Cited under its present title in Walford, 5th ed. and under its previous title, Granger's Index to Poetry, in Books for College Libraries, 3d ed. and Sheehy. The second edition of this essential reference features expanded coverage, now that Granger's has published a separate volume for poetry in anthologies. With the criterion that the poem probably be held in a college library, the editors have included 315 collected and selected works (these are listed at the beginning) by 266 poets, with more than 65,000 poems cited in the indexes by title, first line, author, and subject. This edition features the newest translations and editions as well as the addition of new poets and poets appearing for the first time in English translation. Annotation #169;2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR ( Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Guide to British Poetry Explication [HIL-REF PR502 .M34 1991 vols. 1-4]

    Expands Poetry explication: a checklist of interpretation, Kuntze, et al. (1980). Surveys interpretations of English-language poetry in journals and books published from about 1925 through 1989. The three subsequent volumes will cover Renaissance, Restoration through Victorian, and Modern British poetry; two volumes on American poetry were published in 1989. The arrangement is alphabetical by author; about two-thirds of the volume cover anonymous, Beowulf, and Chaucer. Unannotated. No index. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Longman Dictionary of Poetic Terms [HIL-REF PN1042 .M94 1989]
  • Poet's Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices, The [HIL-REF PN44.5 .P3 1989]
    Defines poetic terms and explains how formal structure and rhythm combine to form compelling poetry.
  • Who's Who in the League of Canadian Poets: Directory of Members - 1999/2000 [HIL-REF PS8081 .L43 1999]
  • Poetry Criticism [HIL-REF PN1010 .P64 vol. 1]
  • New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, The [HIL-REF PN1021 .E5 1993]
    History, types, movements, prosody, genre, rhetoric, and critical terminology of poetry.

Find Books

To search for books at UNB Libraries, first use the library's online catalogue, UNB WorldCat. UNB WorldCat (searchable below) searches for books and other materials held at UNB Libraries and other institutions worldwide. 

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Find Internet Sites

While there is a wealth of information freely available on the internet, not all sites are created equal. Careful evaluation is a critical part of doing research on the Internet. Below are some recommended sites:


Citing Your Sources

Accurate, properly formatted footnotes, reading lists, and bibliographies are hallmarks of good academic research. Through citing, you acknowledge the source of any ideas you mention in your writing, document your research, and provide the information your readers need to track down your sources.

Numerous citation styles exist, and each specifies what elements are required (title, author, journal name, etc.) and how the citation should be formatted. The standard citation style for English Literature is MLA, but your instructor may require or recommend that you use another. Consult your course syllabus or check with your instructor to be sure of using the correct citation style for your assignment.

Use these resources for guidance on proper citation:

As of spring 2021, the MLA Handbook is in its 9th edition; however, there are only two differences between the 8th edition and 9th edition for citation:

1) in works cited entries for MLA 9th edition, you should write the DOI number for a journal article from a database as a web address, e.g., and use a permalink only if no DOI is provided.         

2) the works cited entry for a film should begin with the title of the film, rather than the director's name. If you streamed the film, include just the name of the streaming service, not a URL. E.g. 

Black Panther. Directed by Ryan Coogler, Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Pictures, 2018. Netflix


Citing Indigenous Knowledges

Indigenous scholars have long pointed out the ways the rules of academic citation styles can be exclusionary. Following the existing rules, it can be difficult to grant Indigenous knowledges, particularly oral teachings, the respect they deserve. In 2021, Lorisia MacLeod of the James Smith Cree Nation published templates for citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers in various citation styles. MacLeod's complete article is available here

Here is her template for MLA format:

Last name, First name. Nation/Community. Treaty Territory if applicable. City/Community they live in if applicable. Topic/subject of communication if applicable. Date Month Year.

For example: 

Cardinal, Delores. Goodfish Lake Cree Nation. Treaty 6. Lives in Edmonton. Oral teaching. 4 April 2004.


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