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How to Find Poetry Criticism
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To find information on a poet or critical interpretations of his or her works, begin by checking the CUNY+ online catalog.  In the left hand box labeled “select search type,” click on the tab “subject begins with.” Then, type in the author’s name (Last name, followed by first name) in the search box.

e.g.  Ginsberg, Allen



Literature Resource Center

This database is a good place to find biographical and critical articles on literary authors and their works.  Simply type the poet’s last name “and” the title of the work you are looking for in the search box.

e.g.  Yeats and second coming

A major advantage this source provides is that all of the articles listed are available in full text.

MLA (Modern Language Association) International Bibliography

The most comprehensive database in the field, this reference source provides access to more than 2 million bibliographic citations to journal articles, books, and dissertations from 1926 to the present in academic disciplines such as language, literature, folklore, linguistics, literary theory and criticism, and the dramatic arts. The database can be searched by author, title, subject, and keyword.  Keywords can be connected with Boolean operators (“and,” “or,” “not”) to combine terms:

e.g.  Find:  (marriage or adultery or sex) and Canterbury Tales

The Disadvantage: While some results will link to full text, most will only provide citations, which will then have to be checked in the CUNY+ catalog or the e-journals finder to verify whether or not the BC Library owns the item.

Additional Full Text Online Sources:


Project Muse

Magill On Literature/Online

Twayne’s Author Series

Critical Insights

Gale Virtual Reference Center


Additional Print Indexes & Bibliographies:


Look under the poet’s last name, then under the title of the poem that interests you.  If the citation is to a journal article, check the e-journals finder to see whether or not it is available in full text; if it is not, check the CUNY+ catalog to see if the library owns a paper or microfilm copy.  If the citation is to a book, check the CUNY+ catalog under the title of the book or the author or editor’s last name.  


Poetry explication: a checklist of interpretation since 1925 of British and American poems past. (Brooklyn Reference Z2014.P7 K8) Note: A key to periodical title abbreviations in the citations appears at the front of the volume; references to book titles are found in a bibliography at the end of the volume.


Magill’s Bibliography of Literary Criticism. 4v. (Brooklyn - Reference - Z6511 .M25)


American and British Poetry: A Guide to the Criticism 1925-1990. 2v. (Brooklyn - Reference - Z1231.P7 A44)


Articles on 20th Century Literature: An Annotated Bibliography, 1954-1970. 7v. (Brooklyn - Reference - Z6519 .A7 1954/1970)


Articles on American Literature 1900-1975. (Brooklyn - Reference - Z1225 .A77)


Guide to British poetry explication. 4v. (Brooklyn - Reference - Z2014.P7 M34 1991) Covers British Poetry from the Anglo-Saxon through Victorian periods.  Note: A key to periodical title abbreviations in the citations appears at the front of each volume; references to book titles are found in a bibliography at the end of each volume.



Revised by William Gargan, Language & Literature Bibliographer (Spring 2013)