English Literature - Poetry Guide

Find Articles

When searching for journal articles, an indexing and abstracting database or print index is usually the best place to begin. Below are some recommended print indexes and databases for research in English Literature. 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.

Additional Resources

  • Academic Search Premier
    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 (booknews.com) 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

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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 Poetry 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.


More Information

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