All libraries will be closed on Monday, May 27 in observance of Memorial Day.

Print this page

Uncovering Meaning in Poems

Eileen Ybarra, Librarian III, Electronic Resources,
close up of pink tulips
Spring tulips in Descanso Gardens. Photo credit: Tina Lernø

Every April is National Poetry Month - I've always enjoyed this time of year because April gives me a chance to reflect on poetry that is personally meaningful to me. I enjoy poetry because it offers me a way of appreciating the inner workings of language, sometimes separate from the poet's intentions. Occasionally poetry is mysterious, enigmatic and not obvious in its meaning. However, the abstract nature of some poetry offers a chance to reflect on one's own perspectives. In this way, poetry is an artful gift to the reader. Interpreting a poem can offer a way of creating one's own relationship to any given piece.

Even though a reader may have a personal connection to a poem, the poet may have their own story and differing intentions behind their creation. Discovering the story behind the story can be fascinating in its own right! The library has online literature resources to assist you in discovering favorite authors and their works, and these resources can be accessed anytime, anywhere online with your library card and PIN (last four digits of your phone number).

  • ​Literature Resource Center: Delivers more than 80,000 selected full-text critical essays and reviews. Find up-to-date biographical information, overviews, full-text literary criticism and reviews on nearly 130,000 writers in all disciplines, from all time periods and from around the world
  • LitFinder: Includes more than 130,000 full-text poems, nearly 700,000 poem citations and excerpts, more than 10,000 full-text short stories and novels, 4,100+ full-text essays published from the 16th-21st centuries, nearly 2,000 full-text speeches, and more than 1,400 full-text plays. also includes biographies, work summaries, photographs, and a glossary of terms.

Of course, we have some great poetry available in our collections as well. Below is a list of some of my favorite books of poetry. I hope you enjoy these works as much as I do.

Favorite Books of Poetry

Clifton, Lucille, 1936-2010.

Kinnell, Galway, 1927-2014,