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Poetry: Finding Books of Poems

Q & A: How can I find Poetry in the Library?

Q: How do I find poem(s) by a particular writer?

A: Search the library catalog for a poet's name, not the title of a poem. Generally, individual poems are not listed in the library catalog, so instead look for a collection of works by a poet or a poetry anthology (a collection of poems by several authors).

Q: What's the best way to find an anthology?

A: For collections of poetry, use the Library's OneSearch box and try out a key word search in the empty search box: 


  • Poetry Anthologies

  • Poetry Collections

  • American Poetry 19th Century

  • American Poetry 20th Century

  • American Poetry 21st Century


Q: How can I tell whether a book is poetry or prose? (Does the Library of Congress indicate this in its catalog records)?

A: The Library of Congress does not explicitly indicate whether a book is poetry or prose in its catalog records. You can review the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) assigned to a book to see whether a word such as poetry or biography, which might help indicate the form of the book, is given. A subject term such as poetry is typically used to designate a prose work about poetry (e.g., a collection of essays), and not a work of poetry itself.

Q: I have a poem. How can I find scholarly articles about the poem?

A: Response, analysis, and interpretation of literature, such as poems, fall under a category called Literary Criticism. To find resources on criticism of poetry, use the Article Databases tab in this Research Guide, and try searching the Literature Resource Center database. Don't forget to ask a Reference Librarian if you'd like help.