Poems - Locating and Researching Poetry: Finding Poems Online
Using a Concordance To Find Words Or Passages In a Poem
Suppose you are writing a paper on William Butler Yeats and you remember the following phrase:
When shall the stars be blown about the sky,
Like sparks blown out of a smithy, and die?
The passage is relevant to your topic, but you can't remember which poem it's from. To find the passage, consult a CONCORDANCE. Concordances gather all the words of a certain work or author and arrange them in alphabetical order. Each word is followed by a citation to the appropriate line or passage where the word appears. Most concordances include the surrounding words or line in which the word appears. When using a concordance, try looking up an important word in the passage. For instance, if you look up "smithy" in the concordance of Yeats, you will find:
SMITHY : LIKE SPARKS BLOWN OUT OF A SMITHY, AND DIE?...170 SECRET ROSE 30
This tells you that the passage you are looking for is line 30 of the poem "The Secret Rose," which can be found on page 170 of the Variorum Edition of the Poems of W. B. Yeats. The introduction to the concordance will tell you which edition or volume the page number refers to. Some concordances refer to two or more editions for greater convenience, usually an "authoritative" edition or a variorum edition. (A variorum edition records differences in the various editions and/or manuscripts.) Remember, concordances don't contain the actual poems, they just tell you which poems contain the word you're looking for. You can then find the poem in the edition listed in the concordance or in any "complete" edition of the poet's works.
To find a concordance to the works of your poet, try a keyword search in the Catalog using the poet's name and the word concordance? The ? will retrieve records with "concordance" (usually used in the title) or "concordances" (usually used in the subject headings). For example:
yeats AND concordance?
lorca AND concordance?
You can also search for words and passages in a poem by using electronic texts on the Web.
Using the World Wide Web To Find Poems Or Words and Passages In a Poem
The following websites provide access to full-text poems. You can also use these electronic texts to find words within a poem. Some sites have sophisticated searching capabilities. In websites that don't provide their own search engines, you can search the page by going to "Edit" in the upper toolbar. Pull down the menu and select "Find in page." Then type the word you are looking for in the box that appears in the middle of the screen. The word you're looking for will appear highlighted on the screen.
- Literature Online This link opens in a new windowIndividual collections of poetry, fiction, drama & much more. More InfoFull-Text UB ONLY
- 19th Century Collections Online 8: Women This link opens in a new windowPrimary source documents focused on issues at the intersection of gender and class from the late-eighteenth to the early twentieth century, all through a transnational perspective.
More InfoFull-Text UB ONLY
- American Periodicals Series (APS) Online This link opens in a new windowAmerican Periodical Series 1741-1900. More InfoFull-Text UB ONLY
- Eighteenth Century Collections Online This link opens in a new windowThis collection contains every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom between the years 1701 and 1800. More InfoFull-Text UB ONLY
- Early English Books Online This link opens in a new window22 million digital page images of every work printed in the English language as well as works printed in Great Britain and its dependencies from 1473-1700 in any language. More InfoPartial Full-Text UB ONLY
- The On-Line Books PageA collection of many types of texts, searchable by author, title, and subject.
- Representative Poetry--University of Toronto PressVast index of poems searchable by poet, title, first line, date, or keyword. Also includes famous works of criticism and manifestos by poets (such as Shelley's "Defense of Poetry.")
- Twentieth-Century Poetry in EnglishA large index of links to over 150 poets. Includes a guide to searching for poems on the WWW.
- Western Michigan University Index of Online PoetryAn index of links to poems from various periods. Mostly in English, but with a few Spanish and French poems. Arranged by author.
- American Verse ProjectSpecializes in pre-1920 American poetry. Includes many lesser-known poets. Advanced searching capabilities allow you to find elusive words or passages in individual poems or in the entire database.
- Contemporary American Poetry ArchiveThis website specializes in contemporary poetry which is currently out of print.
- Sonnet CentralFeatures sonnets arranged by period or alphabetically by author. Includes a bibliography of criticism, and Real Audio option.
- Internet Poetry ArchiveFeatures the poetry of Czeslaw Milosz, Seamus Heaney, Philip Levine, Robert Pinsky, Margaret Walker, and Yusef Komunyakaa. Includes Real Audio option.
POEMS IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES:
- Electronic Text Collections in Western European LiteratureProvides links to many electronic-text versions of European literature, organized by language.
- Perseus ProjectProvides full text of many ancient Greek and Latin works, along with English translations. Searchable by keyword, browsable by author.
- ARTFL Project This link opens in a new windowFrench language texts. More InfoFull-Text UB ONLY
- BitBliotecaA collection of literary works mostly in Spanish, but including some English and French works.
- Poesía MexicanaA collection of poems by Mexican Poets.