Research Guide to Poetry in English

| Citing Sources | Reference Books | CONSULS Catalog | Online Databases | Locating Periodicals | Interlibrary Loan | Questions? |

Citing Sources to Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a form of cheating which may lower the grade you receive on your assignment. You must cite the source of any direct quotation and of any facts or ideas you obtained from another source. For more information about how to avoid plagiarism, please watch this brief video from Bainbridge College in YouTube: Plagiarism: How to Avoid It (

For tips on citation format, please see Diana Hacker's Humanities: Documenting Sources ( or the MLA Formatting and Style Guide courtesy of the OWL: Purdue Online Writing Lab (

Reference Books for Background Information

Reference books are shelved by Library of Congress call number in the reference stacks located on the first floor of the Ruth Haas Library. They may not be checked out, but photocopiers are available for student use on the first and third floors.

General Background on Literature

The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English. Third edition.Ref PR 85.C29 2006
Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English LiteratureRef PR 149.B5.D53 1992
Dictionary of Literary Themes and Motifs. 2 volumes.Ref PN 43.D48 1988
Encyclopedia of Literary RomanticismRef PR 457.E53 2010
Encyclopedia of the Harlem RenaissanceRef PS 153.N5.B675 2006
Feminist Companion to Literature in EnglishRef PN PR 111.B57 1990
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African-American Literature. 5 volumes.Ref PS 153.N5.G73 2005
The Oxford Companion to American Literature. Sixth edition.Ref PS 21.H3 1995
The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Sixth edition.Ref PR 19.O94 2006
The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. 4 volumes.Ref PS 21.E537 2004
The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature. 5 volumes.Ref PR 19.O95 2006

Background on Poetry

Beat Culture: Lifestyles, Icons, and ImpactRef PS 228.B6.B368 2005
Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry in AnthologiesRef PN 1022.C63 1996
Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry in Collected and Selected WorksRef PN 1022.H39 1997
Dictionary of Poetic Terms (Myers)Ref PN 1042.M93 2003
Encyclopedia of the New York School PoetsRef PS 255.N5.E53 2009
The Facts on File Companion to British Poetry before 1600Ref PR 1175.F19 2008
The Facts on File Companion to British Poetry: 17th and 18th CenturiesRef PR 1209.F27 2008
The Facts on File Companion to British Poetry: 19th CenturyRef PR 590.F57 2010
the Facts on File Companion to British Poetry: 1900 to the PresentRef PR 1225.F29 2009
The Facts on File Companion to 20th-Century American PoetryRef PS 323.5.F33 2005
The Facts on File Companion to World Poetry: 1900 to the PresentRef PN 1271.A73 2008
New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and PoeticsRef PN 1021.N39 1993
Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Poetry in EnglishRef PR 601.O9 1994
The Poetry Dictionary. Second edition.Ref PN 1021.D78 2006
Poet's Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices (Packard)Ref PN 44.5.P3 1989
The Teachers and Writers Handbook of Poetic FormsRef PN 1042.T43 2000

Literary Criticism

*Poetry Criticism (PC)In Literature Criticism Online (see databases below)
Critical Survey of Poetry. Fourth edition. 6 volumes.Ref PN1021.C7 2011
American and British Poetry: A Guide to the Criticism, 1979-1990Ref PS 303.A49 1996
Black Literature Criticism (BLC)Ref PS 153.N5.B556 1992
Hispanic Literature Criticism (HLC)Ref PQ 7081.A1.H573
New Moulton's Library of Literary Criticism. 10 volumes.Ref PR 85.N39 1985
The Romantics Revisisted. 9 volumes.Ref PR 590.R43

Biographical Sources

Dictionary of Literary BiographyUnder Articles & Databases: A-Z on Library Homepage
Notable Poets. 3 volumes.Ref PN 1021.N68 1998
World Poets. 3 volumes.Ref PN 1021.W67 2000
African American WritersRef PS 153.N5.A344 1990
The Age of Milton: An Encyclopedia of Major 17th-Century British and American AuthorsRef PR 431.A36 2004
American Women Writers. Second edition. 4 volumes.Ref PS 147.A4 1982
American Writers. 4 volumes + 4 supplements.Ref PS 129.A55
British Authors Before 1800: A Biographical DictionaryRef PR 105.K9 1952
British Women Writers: A Critical Reference GuideRef PR 111.B75 1989
British Writers. 8 volumes.Ref PR 85.B688 1984
European Writers (use index in volume 14)Ref PN 501.E9 1983
Latin American Writers. 3 volumes.Ref PQ 7081.A1.L37 1989
Modern American Women WritersRef PS 151.M54 1990
Modern British Women Writers: An A-to-Z GuideRef PR 116.M63 2002
The Oxford Guide to British Women WritersRef PR 111.S48 1993

Specific Poets

A Blake Dictionary: The Ideas and Symbols of William BlakeRef PR 4146.A24 1988
Concordance to the Poems of William WordsworthRef PR 5880.C6 1965
Critical Companion to Edgar Allan PoeRef PS 2630.S68 2007
Critical Companion to Robert FrostRef PS 3511.R94.Z6425 2007
Critical Companion to Walt WhitmanRef PS 3231.O53 2006
Critical Companion to William Butler YeatsRef PR 5906.R667 2009
Edgar Allan Poe A-ZRef PS 2630.S68 2001
An Emily Dickinson EncyclopediaRef PS 1541.Z49.E47 1998
The Essential Milton: An Annotated Bibliography of Major Modern StudiesRef PR 3581.K57 1989
The Poe EncyclopediaRef PS 2630.P58 1997
Walt Whitman: A Literary Reference to His Life and WorkRef PS 3231.O53 2006


A Companion the Shakespeare's SonnetsRef PR 2848.C66 2007
A Companion to Shakespeare's Works
See volume IV: The Poems, Problem Comedies, Late Plays
Ref PR 2976.C572 2003
Essential Shakespeare: An Annotated Bibliography of Major Modern StudiesRef PR 2894.C53 1993
The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (see entry beginning on page 438)Ref PR 2892.O94 2001
Shakespearean CriticismIn Literature Criticism Online (see databases below)
Shakespeare Index: An Annotated Bibliography of Critical Articles: 1959-1983. 2 vol.Ref PR 2894.S25 1992

Symbols, Allusions, and Metaphors

Adonis to Zorro: Oxford Dictionary of Reference and AllusionRef PN 43.D45 2010
Common Knowledge: A Reader's Guide to Literary AllusionsRef PN 43.G68 1987
A Dictionary of Literary and Thematic TermsRef PN 44.5.Q56 1999
Dictionary of Literary SymbolsRef PN 56.S9.F47 1999
Facts on File Dictionary of AllusionsRef PN 43.M25 2009
Metaphors DictionaryCirc PE 1689.M47 1995
The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and FableRef PN 43.O94 2000
Ruffner's Allusions. Third edition.Ref PN 43.A4 2009

Critical Theory

Dictionary of Concepts in Literary Criticism and TheoryRef PN 41.H36 1992
Dictionary of Modern Critical Terms. Revised and enlarged edition.Ref PN 41.D4794 1987
Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literary Theory: Approaches, Scholars, TermsCirc PN 81.E43 1993
The Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory. 3 volumes.Ref PN 81.E435 2011
Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism. Second edition.
Also available online via CONSULS.
Ref PN 81.J554 2005

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CONSULS Online Catalog for Books and Media

CONSULS catalog workstations are located in the Reference Area on the first floor, and on each of the other floors of the Haas Library. You may logon to CONSULS via the WCSU Libraries Homepage at or directly at For more detailed instructions on searching, please see the yellow CONSULS flyer on the display rack on the first floor.

Please Note: CONSULS ignores upper and lower case, and you may omit punctuation, except the hyphen which must be replaced by a space.


Select Author at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the writer's name last-name-first. Correct spelling is important.

Example: hughes langston (press RETURN or ENTER)
Or just: hughes la (press ENTER)

To limit search results to items owned by WCSU, click on Limit/Sort and then select WCSU under "WHERE Item is Located."


Select Subject at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the writer's name last-name-first. Correct spelling is important. To limit results to items owned by WCSU, use the Limit/Sort option.

Example: frost robert (press RETURN or ENTER)
Or just: frost rob (press ENTER)

CONSULS will retrieve a list of Library of Congress subject headings that begin with the words you typed:

Frost Robert 1874-1963 (main heading is subdivided)
Frost Robert 1874-1963--Bibliography
Frost Robert 1874-1963--Biography
Frost Robert 1874-1963--Criticism and interpretation
Frost Robert 1874-1963--Influence
Frost Robert 1874-1963--Political and social views

PLEASE NOTE: Personal name headings may also be subdivided by the titles of individual works, for example:

Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns) 1888-1965--Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


Select Title at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type as much of the title as you remember in correct word order. In CONSULS, you may omit "a," "an," or "the" at the beginning of a title.

Example: The World of Shakespeare's Sonnets: an Introduction (press RETURN or ENTER)
Or just: world of shakespeares sonnets (press ENTER)

If your TITLE search does not retrieve an entry for a separately published edition of the work, select Words Search to re-execute the search as a keywords search (example: ozymandias press RETURN). Then scan the CONTENTS field of each entry for the title of the work you need.


Select Subject at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the Library of Congress subject heading which best describes your topic. Correct spelling and word order are important. The complete list of Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) is published in a set of big red books available in the Reference Area on the first floor of the Haas Library.

Example: American poetry--20th century--History and criticism (press RETURN or ENTER)
Or just: american poetry 20th century (press ENTER)

Example: English poetry--18th century--History and criticism (press ENTER)
Or just: english poetry 18th century (press ENTER)


Select Keyword(s) at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the keywords which best describe your topic, in any order.

Example: robert frost and (solitude or separat* or isolat*) press RETURN or ENTER
Example: langston hughes and poet* and harlem press ENTER
Example: browning and last duchess and (irony or ironic) press ENTER
Example: (shakespeare or donne) and sonnet* and (critic* or interpret*) press ENTER

Use the * (asterisk) as a truncation symbol to retrieve variant forms of a word root. Use the Boolean OR to expand your search by including synonyms and related terms. When using two different Boolean commands in the same search statement ("and" and "or" in the preceding examples) you must include parentheses to indicate which command is to be performed first.


If the item you need is owned by one of the other CSU Libraries (CCSU, SCSU, or ECSU) but not by WCSU, or if WCSU's copy is checked out, you may order the item via Inter-Campus Loan by clicking on Request at the full record display in CONSULS. Then type your University network username and password. Be sure to specify a pickup location (Haas or Young Library). If you need assistance, please contact the Circulation Desk at (203) 837-9100.

There is a limit of ten (10) Inter-Campus Loan requests per person. Videos are available via Inter-Campus Loan. Please allow 4-5 working days for delivery to the Haas Circulation Desk. Items borrowed via Inter-Campus Loan may be renewed for an additional borrowing period if no one has placed a HOLD on the item.

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Online Databases for Finding Periodical Articles

Coverage: Issue number one to within 5-6 years of present
Location: Under Articles & Databases: Most Popular on the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Full-text of over 500 core scholarly journals in over 50 disciplines, including language and literature (complete backfiles),
Academic Search Premier in EBSCOhost
Coverage: 1990 - present (earlier for many publications)
Location: Under Articles & Databases: Most Popular at the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Indexes approximately 8,000 newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals in most fields, including language and literature, with 4,000 available in full-text.
Literature Criticism Online from Gale Research
Coverage: Includes the series Poetry Criticism (PC), Drama Criticism (DC), Shakespearean Criticism (SC), Short Story Criticism (SSC), Contemporary Literary Criticism (CLC), Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism (TCLC), Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism (NCLC), Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800 (LC), and Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism (CMLC),
Location: Under Articles & Databases: A-Z on the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Excerpts and (in some cases) the full-text of articles published in English-language scholarly journals in literature and language.
MLA International Bibliography
Coverage: 1963 - present
Location: Under Articles & Databases: A-Z at the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Indexes books, essays in books, journal articles, and Ph.D. dissertations in literature, language, linguistics, and folklore. Some linked full-text. No abstracts.

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Locating Periodicals in the Haas Library

To find out if WCSU subscribes to a specific periodical in print or online:

1. Select Journal Title at the CONSULS main menu, then type the name of the periodical (example: american poetry review) and press RETURN. If a title list appears on the screen, select the desired title, then look inside the box to find WCSU holdings. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to see if WCSU owns backfiles on microfilm or microfiche.

2. To find out if a given periodical is available in full-text in one or more of WCSU's online databases, use the Journal Finder available under Articles & Databases on the WCSU Libraries Homepage (

How to Use Interlibrary Loan

If the CSU Libraries do not own the book or periodical you need, you may request delivery of the item via Interlibrary Loan using the online ILLiad system available at:

There is a limit of 5 Interlibrary Loan requests per person per day. Videos are not available via Interlibrary Loan. Under most circumstances, Interlibrary Loan is a free service, but please allow at least ten working days for delivery. You will be notified as soon as the material arrives. Faster document delivery service is available for a reasonable fee. Please see the librarian at the Reference Desk or call the Interlibrary Loan Desk at (203) 837-9114 for more information.

Do You Have a Question?

The Reference Desk on the first floor of the Haas Library is staffed by a professional librarian who is trained to assist in your research, or you may contact Joan Reitz, Instruction Librarian, at 837-8308 or My office is located in Room 402 on the fourth floor of the Haas Library (near the glass elevator).

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Please send your comments to Joan Reitz, Haas Instruction Librarian, Western Connecticut State University.
Last updated on September 10, 2014.