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Literature Studies: Poetry

A guide to English literature and literary criticism.

Finding lyric poems

Does your class assignment require you to find a lyric poem in the library?

Flip through a poetry anthology or collection and look for poems that fit your understanding of a lyric poem. Look for poems with rhythm, just like song lyrics have rhythm. Sonnets and ballads are types of lyric poetry.

Try these collections:

You can also browse the works of particular poets. Good ones to try are:

  • Robert or Elizabeth Barrett Browning: PR4182.F67 1988, PR4203.D39 1991
  • Lord Byron: PR4353 .L68 1995
  • Robert Taylor Coleridge:  PR4472 .J3 1994
  • John Donne: PR2246 .C52 1988b
  • John Keats: PR4832.C66 1990
  • D. H. Lawrence: PR6023.A93 A17 1986
  • Andrew Marvell: PR3546 .A1 1976
  • Shakespeare PR2841.A1 1958b
  • Emily Dickinson: PS1541 .A17 1997
  • Robert Frost: PS3511.R94 A6 1995
  • Edgar Allen Poe: PS2605 .A1 1965

Also: Sappho, Wordsworth, Tennyson, or Longfellow.

Poetry Full Text databases

For the full text of thousands of poems in English, start with these resources.

Recommended Reference Books in Jerome Library

Biographical information about poets

Highlighted Journals

American Poetry Review
Antioch Review
American Poetry Review
Antioch Review
The Explicator
Contains contemporary poetry, fiction, social commentary, opinion, translations and reviews for a general audience. Full text of American Poetry Review is available in JSTOR back to 1972 and current issues of American Poetry Review are full text in EBSCO.
Prints essays, fiction, poetry, and book reviews, with occasional special issues on topics of contemporary interest and importance. Full text of AThe ntioch Review is available in JSTOR.
Provides short papers related to the interpretation of prose and poetry. Full text of The Explicator is available online.

Name that poem!

Know how a poem begins but can't remember the author? Know the poet's name but can't remember the poem? When trying to match a line with an author, begin with a Columbia Granger's Index.


I just need a poem. Any poem will do.

Again, a poetry anthology might be just the ticket. An alternative is to search within the library catalog, using keywords such as "victorian poetry" or "slam poets" to find collections by time period or genre. Or, try browsing the journals highlighted on this guide.

For collections of poetry, search the library catalog for the Subject: Poetry--Collections or try these titles:

Recommended Databases and Websites about poetry

Spoken Word

Poetry is meant to be experienced aloud, much like plays are meant to be performed. The Poetry Archive is an online collection of poets, of the 20th century onwards, reading their work; it includes some historic recordings from the late 19th century. Poems are browsable by title, theme, and form. Requires Real Player download to hear poetry; link from site.

Jerome Library also has many recordings of poets reading their works; search the BGSU Library Catalog by choosing Material Type > Spoken Word Recording.

Finding a poem

I have a poem, now I need to find scholarly articles about the poem.

Response, analysis, and interpretation of literature, such as poems, fall under the category of Literary Criticism. To find resources on criticism of poetry, see the information within the Literary Criticism tab.

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