Print this page

High School: Poetry



This is a resource guide for poetry in English for students in high school.
Poetry takes many forms both in rhyme, subject matter and image.  It is the most intense
and compressed form of literature.

Catalog Search Strategies

Author and subject searches are the best and most efficient way to find information.

(Author browse will provide books written by an author)
Keats, John
Stevens, Wallace
Frost, Robert
Wordsworth, William

(Subject browse will provide books written by authors about a particular poet or a group of poets.)
Poets, English
Keats, John
Frost, Robert
Cummings, E. E.

(Keyword is a very efficient way to find criticism about a poet’s work.  The words do not need to be in any order.)
Robert Frost criticism  interpretation
criticism William interpretation Wordsworth

(Limit by Material)
John Keats sound recording (for CDs, e-material)
John Keats dvd (for documentaries; sometimes a feature film)

Library Materials

Sound and Sense by Laurence Perrine and Thomas R. Arp
809.1 P458-1 1992
There are several editions of this classic introduction to poetry. Specific topics such as meter, rhyme, simile, metaphor are covered and always with specific poetic examples.  Very useful for teacher and student.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms by Chris Baldick
803 C744-1 2001
There are numerous dictionaries of literary terms.  These are useful in defining terminology used to understand  and analyze poetry.  (The best way to search for these books in the catalog is by keyword: literary terms dictionary.)

Dictionary--a dictionary is absolutely essential when analyzing poetry because poets use words in exceptional and unique  ways.  In the catalog search under English Language Dictionaries (subject browse) for dictionaries.

Library Databases/Electronic Resources

LAPL’s website runs 24/7.  With a library card the databases are accessible when the library is closed. Formats for databases will change without prior notice.  Also coverage, full-text versus abstract, will also change without notice.

Gale Virtual Reference Library (Reference eBooks)
This virtual resource has a subject arrangement. Click on Literature.

Literature Resource Center(Gale)
This is an invaluable literary database. Provides full text articles from books, directories, scholarly journals, magazines and other resources, all  with full bibliographic citations.  Within this database there is access to Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
This is an online version of the multi-volume hard copy set.  It is “The definitive record of the English
Language” which  provides a record of changes in the definitions and meanings of words over the centuries.


Through the library’s E-Media link search by using authors and keywords to find materials that can
be checked out online using a library card.


Library of Congress
A website with links to a  great variety of resources on poetry, including a Teachers’ Page.
This is a treasure trove of links to online readings, criticism, and other poetry resources from our national library.

Lunch Poems. A Noontime Poetry Reading Series from Robert Haas, former Poet Laureate.
“A noontime poetry reading series under the direction of Professor Robert Haas.”  Readings and comments by modern poets are available on YouTube, iTunes, or webcasts.  This series is from
UC Berkeley. Excellent for classroom use.

Modern American Poetry
“The Modern American Poetry Site is a comprehensive learning environment and scholarly forum for the study of modern and contemporary American poetry.  Started as a multimedia companion to the
Anthology of Modern American Poetry. MAPS has grown over the past decade to more than
30,000 pages of biographies, critical essays, syllabi and images relating to 161 poets.”

Poetry Explications.
This site gets three stars!  From the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Writing Center, comes
“Poetry Explications” which takes a student through the step-by-step process of analyzing a poem. Check out their writing center for other handouts.
For reproducing handouts, check the bottom of each one for directions because most are licensed and require full attribution to the Writing Center at the UNC, Chapel Hill.

Poetry 180: a poem a day for American High School Students
A resource from The Library of Congress. This site could be an essential one for promoting poetry for reluctant students.   

Representative Poetry Online
From the University of Toronto, Canada, this site includes selected criticism, timelines, bibliographies,
movements in poetry and a superb online glossary of poetry terms.

Suggested Material

As mentioned above, a dictionary is essential in analyzing a poem.  Highly recommended would be a paperback dictionary or an app.

Created by:
Sheryn Morris
Reference Librarian, II
Central Library, Literature & Fiction Department