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How to find . . .: poetry criticism

Online (database) sources

All the online databases below are listed (with links) on the “Electronic Databases” menu in the Library Catalog

 Poem Finder (Part of Lit Finder database).
Poem Finder’s collection of poems is international in scope covering antiquity to the present. Over 100,000 full-text poems are made available, plus over 800,000 poem citations and excerpts, a guide to locating poems on specific subjects, detailed explanations (explication) of more than 1,000 poems, and detailed profiles of poets and their works.

 Lit Finder.
Lit Finder is a literature resource, international in scope and covering all time periods. It is comprised of five databases that provide extensive full-text content in English or English translation of the works included. It provides access to the full-text of poems, stories, essays, plays and speeches.

 Literature Resource Center.
Literature Resource Center gives access to biographies, bibliographies, and critical analyses of more than 120,000 authors from every age and literary discipline.

 Contemporary Literary Criticism.
Contemporary Literary Criticism is one of the databases included in Literature Resource Center (see above). CLC contains excerpts from criticism of the works of today’s writers and those who have died since 1960. The Paul Meek library also has the printed version of Contemporary Literary Criticism . It is shelved in the Reference Collection (REF. PN 771 .C59).

 Modern Language Association (MLA) Bibliography.
The MLA Bibliography is the research tool for literature because it most accurately reflects the state of literary studies in the United State and internationally. Historically it has been geared to university students and scholars, but it can also benefit general users. Our electronic versions are very easy to use with keyword, author, and subject (characters, literary themes, etc.) searches.

 JSTOR: The Scholarly Journal Archive.
JSTOR provides image and full-text online access to back issues of selected scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences. Critical articles on individual poems and poets are available in full-text. Consult the online tables of contents for holdings, as coverage varies for each title.

Excerpted criticism (print)

In the four titles cited below, excerpted parts of critical works representing contrasting evaluations are published. Note that these titles are not strictly limited to discussions of poetry they embrace other forms of literature as well. In general, the arrangement of the criticism is chronological so that the opinions of a writer’s contemporaries are placed first. Each excerpt is followed by a reference to its original source.

 

Contemporary Literary Criticism. (REF. PN 771 .C59). 1973- Current.
Excerpts from critical reviews and essays of the works of today’s writers and those who have died since 1960. This source is also available online (see above).

Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. (REF. PN 771 .G27). 1978- Current.
Excerpts from published criticism on authors writing in the 20th century who died prior to 1960.

Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism. (REF. PN 761 .N5). 1981- Current.
Excerpt from criticism of the works of authors who lived between 1800 and 1900, from the first published evaluations to current criticism.

Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800. (REF. PN 86 .L53). 1984- Current.
Excerpts from published criticism on authors who died between 1400 and 1800. Each volume in this set includes the best works of criticism from the 15th through the 20th centuries.

Bio-bibliographic studies

The titles listed below are volumes in the set titled the Dictionary Of Literary Biography. The library has other volumes in this set covering other literary genres as well. This set is shelved in the Reference Collection on the 1 st floor of the library.

American Poets Since World War II  (REF. PS 129 .D5). Vols. 5, 120, 193
Critical discussions of the works of American poets since 1945. Bibliographies, biographies and illustrations are included.

Afro-American Poets Since 1955  (REF. PS 129 .D5). Vol. 41
Critical discussions, bibliographies and biographies of African-American poets writing after 1955. Illustrations are included.

Victorian Poets Before 1850  (REF. PS 129 .D5). Vol. 32
Victorian Poets After 1850 
(REF. PS 129 .D5). Vol. 35
Critical discussions of the works of British poets writing during the time frames indicated. Both titles include bibliographies, biographies and illustrations.

British Poets, 1880-1914  (REF. PS 129 .D5)
British Poets, 1914-1945 
(REF. PS 129 .D5)
Critical discussions of the works of British poets of the late 19th century and the 20th century to 1945. The articles include bibliographies, biographies and illustrations.

Poets of Great Britain and Ireland Since 1960  (REF. PS 129 .D5). Vols. 19-20
For contemporary British and Irish poets, critical bio-bibliographic articles with illustrations.

Ancient Roman Writers  (REF. PS 129 .D5). Vol. 211
This title includes discussions of selected Roman authors and is not limited to poets. Poets included in this title are Horace, Martial, and Ovid among others.

Biographies (online)

Try these for biographical information about people who write poetry

Biography Resource Center.
Biography Resource Center includes full-text articles from hundreds of periodicals as well as biographies from other Gale Group databases. Searches for individuals can be based on personal facts such as: birth and death year, nationality, ethnicity, occupation and gender, or these facts can be combined to create a highly-targeted custom search. The Complete Marquis Who’s Who is a component of Biography Resource Center.

Biography & Genealogy Master Index.
This database is a comprehensive index--not always full-text--to almost 12 million biographical sketches in more than 2,700 volumes and editions of current and retrospective reference books, covering both contemporary and historical figures for the whole world.

Criticsm & explication (print & online)

Poem Finder. Online source.
This database contains explanations of individual poems in full-text.

The Explicator. Online, print, microform.
A journal of explication in full-text. To access online, printed, or microform, go to the Library’s Catalog page and click the “Periodicals” button. When the search window comes up type in Explicator and enter. A screen will come up listing our holdings in all three formats. A link is provided for online access.

JSTOR: The Scholarly Journal Archive. Online source.
Critical articles on individual poems are available in full-text in this database of scholarly journals of the humanities and social sciences.

Contemporary Literary Criticism. Online source.
CLC contains excerpted criticism in full-text of the works of today’s writers and those who have died since 1960. Paul Meek Library also has the printed version of this database (REF. PN 771 .C59) in the Reference Bookstack.

Literature Resource Center. Online source.
Some full-text databases, such as Contemporary Literary Criticism, are bundled in this database.

Modern Literature Association (MLA) Bibliography. Online source.
This database has occasional links to full-text articles, but is primarily a bibliography.

Poetry for Students. (REF. PN .1101 .P64). Printed source.
A multi-volume set, continually being added to, which contains entries for selected poems. Each poem is analyzed in detail and includes criticism, bibliography and biography. The latest volume has a cumulative index for the set. This title is shelved in the Reference Bookstack.

Masterplots II: Poetry Series. (REF. PN 1110 .5 .M37 2002). 8 Volumes. Printed source.
Plots, Forms and Devices, and Themes and Meanings for individual poems are discussed. This set is shelved in the Reference Bookstack.

Critical Survey of Poetry. (REF. PN 1021 .C7 2003). 8 Volumes. Printed source.
International in scope, from ancient to modern in coverage, this title provides overviews of the themes, techniques, style, and development on major collections, poems, or aspects of a person’s work as a poet. It is selective in its inclusion of poets. This printed set is shelved in the Reference Bookstack.

Poetry dictionaries and handbooks

The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices, by William Packard, 1989  (REF. PN 44 .5 .P3 1989)
Definitions of terms with examples.

Poetry Handbook: A Dictionary of Terms by Babette Deutsch, 4th Ed. 1974  (REF. PN 44 .5 .D4 1974b)
Explanations of poetry techniques such as rhyme, meter, technique, etc.

The Longman Dictionary of Poetic Terms, Jack Myers and Michael Simms. 1989  (REF. PN 1042 .M94 1989)
This dictionary attempts to define a critical vocabulary for the poet and the student of poetry.

The Teacher & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms, Edited by Ron Padgett. 2nd Ed. 2000  (REF. PN 1042 .T43 2000)
A poetics reference book for novice writers and students, this book contains 77 entries by 19 writers on selected poetic forms.

The Princeton Handbook of Poetic Termsm, Edited by Alex Preminger. 1986.  (REF. PN 1042 .P75 1986)
Emphasizes prosodic and poetic terms likely to be encountered in many different areas of literary study. The articles in this book are drawn from the New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, but the Handbook focuses on the specific subject areas of poetics, rhetoric, genre, and criticism.

The Princeton Handbook of Multicultural Poetries, Edited by T.V.F. Brogan. 1996.  (REF. PN 1021 .N932 1996)
A complete survey of poetic history and praxis in every major national literature or cultural tradition in the world. This handbook is another specialized title drawn from the New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics

To find the text of a poem

Poem Finder.
Online database. See entry above.

PoemHunter.com.
A Website containing over 100,000 poems from over 11,000 poets.

The Columbia Granger’s Index to Poetry in Anthologies  (REF. PN 1021 .7)
   A printed index located in the Reference Bookstack (1 st floor). Formerly titled Granger’s Index to Poetry from 1940 (1 st ed.) to 1977 (8th ed.) this index and its Companion volume The Columbia Granger’s Index to Poetry in Collected and Selected Works (REF. PN 1022 .C63) are the best sources for locating texts of poems in books. In both these works a poem can be searched by its author, title, subject, and first and last lines. If needed, the Reference staff can instruct you in the use of these books.

Index of American Periodical Verse (Z 1231 .P7 .I47)
Located in the Circulating Collection on the 2nd floor.
    A printed index, 1971 to current, this publication indexes texts of poems published in periodicals.

Print indices to criticism

Humanities Index. (REF. A 3 .H85x). 1974 to date.
Indexes articles in journals or periodicals. The articles can be biographical, general critical discussions or, interpretations of specific poems. The predecessors to this index were the: Social Sciences and Humanities Index (REF. AI 3 .R49), 1965 – 1974 and International Index (REF. A 3 .R49), 1907 – 1965. All these indexes are in the Reference Bookstack on the 1 st floor of the Library.

American and British Poetry: A Guide to the Criticism, 1925 – 1990. (REF DESK. Z 1231 .P7 .A44 1984)
A bibliography of criticism of individual poems found in selected journals and books published between 1925 and 1990. THIS BOOK IS KEPT AT THE REFERENCE DESK ON THE 1 ST FLOOR OF THE LIBRARY

Guide to American Poetry Explication. 2 Volumes.
Vol. 1. Colonial and Nineteenth-Century. (REF DESK. Z 1231 .P7 .R66 1989).
Vol. 2. Modern and Contemporary. (REF DESK. Z 1231 .P7 .L46 1989).
A bibliography of explication of individual poems. Selection for inclusion in this bibliography was guided by the following definition of explication: “an examination of a work of literature for a knowledge of each part, for the relations of these parts to each other, and for their relations to the whole.” This definition comes from the first edition of Poetry Explication: A Checklist of Interpretation, which listed citations through 1977. These newer volumes extend that coverage through 1987. BOTH VOLUMES OF THIS TITLE ARE KEPT AT THE 1 ST FLOOR REFERENCE DESK.

Guide to British Poetry Explication. 4 Volumes.
Vol. 1. Old English – Medieval. (REF DESK. Z 2014 .P7 .M34 1991).
Vol. 2. Renaissance. (REF DESK. Z 2014 .P7 .M34 1991).
Vol. 3. Restoration – Romantic. (REF DESK. Z 2014 .P7 .M34 1991).
Vol. 4. Victorian – Contemporary. (REF DESK. Z 2014 .P7 .M34 1991).
A bibliography of explication of individual poems. As with the previous entry, these four volumes continue and expand the list published in Poetry Explication. In a departure from Poetry Explication, these volumes include explications for poems of all lengths. ALL THE VOLUMES OF THIS TITLE ARE KEPT AT THE 1 ST FLOOR REFERENCE DESK.

Essay and General Literature Index. (REF. AI 3. E75). 1900 – Current.
The E&GL indexes essays published in book form or as parts of books. They are difficult to locate without using this index. Entries are arranged primarily by author and subject. In the “List of Books Indexed” at the back of each volume are complete bibliographic descriptions of all the titles cited in that volume. If any assistance is needed in using E&GL, come to the 1 st floor Reference Desk for help.

Poetry encyclopedias

New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, edited by Alex Preminger and T.V.F. Brogan, Rev. ed., 1993.  (REF. PN 1021 .N39 1993)
Discusses the history, theory and technique of poetry from the earliest times to the present.

Encyclopedia of American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century, 1998.  (REF. P 316 .E63 1998)
This title examines the works of individual poets writing in the 19th century. Each entry contains a critical essay which includes the literary-historical significance and the cultural relevance of the poetry, and also provides useful facts and dates, biographical background and provenance. Bibliographies of “Selected Works” and “Further Reading” follow the entry. The Encyclopedia contains 112 entries for individual poets and several topical entries.

Contemporary Poets, edited by Thomas Riggs, 2nd-7th eds. 1975–2001  (REF. PR 603 .C6 2001)
The current edition contains entries for 787 poets alive at the time of publication of this book. The poets included were selected by a board of advisers. Each entry contains a critical essay on the entrant’s poetry written by an established critic, poet, or editor and a statement by the entrant (when available). Each entry also includes biographical data and a bibliography of the entrant’s published works (not limited to poetry).

Contemporary American Women Poets: An A-to-Z Guide, Edited by Catherine Cucinella, 2002.  (REF. PS 151 .C665 2002)
This title includes American women poets who published a significant part of their work from 1946 to the present. There are entries for 70 poets. Each entry is about 5 pages in length and is divided into 5 sections: biography, major works and themes, critical reception, bibliography, and studies about the entrant.

The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism, 1st ed. 1994; 2nd ed. 2005  (REF. PN 81 .J554)
This title contains 241 alphabetically arranged essays on individual critics and theorists, critical and theoretical schools and movements, and the theoretical and critical innovations of specific countries and historical periods. The second edition of this work does not replace the first edition, but continues its work in changed contexts.