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English Literature

Encyclopedias & Histories

(arranged in order of comprehensiveness)

Preminger, Alex and T.V.F. Brogan, eds. The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics.
REF PN1021 .N39 1993

Spender, Stephen and Donald Hall, eds. The Concise Encyclopedia of English and American Poets and Poetry. (1963)
REF PR19 .S74

Perkins, David. A History of Modern Poetry: from the 1890's to the High Modernist Mode. (1976)
PR610 .P4

Perkins, David. A History of Modern Poetry: Modernism and After. (1987)
PS323.5 P46 1987t

Hamilton, Ian. Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Poetry in English.
REF PR601 .O9 1994

Parini, Jay and Brett C. Miller, eds. The Columbia History of American Poetry.
PS303 .C64 1993t

Haralson, Eric L. and John Hollander, eds. Encyclopedia of American Poetry.
   The Nineteenth Century
   Twentieth Century

   REF PS323.5.E53 2001

General Studies & Introductory Guides

(arranged alphabetically)
Brogan, T. V. F. English Versification, 1570-1980: A Reference Guide with a Global Appendix. (1981)
Brooks, Cleanth. Understanding Poetry. 4th ed.
PR1109 .B676 1976


Eliot, T. S. On Poetry and Poets. (1957)
PN1042 .E42
Essays by a major modern poet and critic.


Fussell, Paul. Poetic Meter and Poetic Form. (1967)
PE1505 .F88
A standard guide.
Hollander, John. Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse. New, enlarged ed.
PE1505 .H6 1989
A brief and sometimes playful guide.


Peck, John. How to Study a Poet.
PR504.5 .P4 1988


Perrine, Laurence. Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry. 3rd ed.
PN1042 .P4 1969
A standard introductory guide to poetic language and form. Organized as an anthology in topical chapters (e.g., "Imagery," "Figurative Language," "Rhythm and Metre"), using lyric poems as illustrations.


Pinsky, Robert. The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief Guide.
PN4151 .P55 1998.
Brief and not overly technical, this guide written by a poet shows what formal understanding of poetry can contribute to its analysis and enjoyment.
Smith, Barbara Herrnstein. Poetic Closure: A Study of How Poems End. (1968)
PN1042 .S65
Formalist criticism combining theoretical argument with illustrative close readings.
Steele, Timothy. All the Fun's in How You Say a Thing: An Explanation of Meter and Versification.
PE1505 .S73 1999 [check Omni - this book is often placed on Reserve]
Written by a poet; engaging and comprehensive.

Whalley, George. Poetic Process. (1953)
PN1042 .W5


Barker, Jonathan. Poetry in Britain and Ireland since 1970: A Select Bibliography.
Z2014 .P7 B32 1995


Colbeck, Norman, et al., eds. A Bookman's Catalogue: The Norman Colbeck Collection of Nineteenth-century and Edwardian Poetry and Belles Lettres in the Special Collections of the University of British Columbia. 2 vols.
Z2013 .U55 1987t

Glen, Duncan. The Poetry of the Scots: An Introduction and Bibliographical Guide to Poetry in Gaelic, Scots, Latin, and English.
PR8561 .G58 1991
Guy, Patricia A. Women's Poetry Index.
REF PN1024.G89 1985
Indexes 51 anthologies of women poets, most of which are not covered in other standard poetry indexes.
Hazen, Edith P., ed. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 10th ed.
REF PN1022 .H39 1994t
Lists 79,000 poems of all periods printed in 400 current anthologies (up to June 1993); search by title, first line, last line, author, or subject. Since it lists all anthologies carrying a given poem, Granger's Index can be used to estimate the relative popularity today of classic poems.
Jackson, J. R. de J. Romantic Poetry by Women: A Bibliography, 1770-1835.
REF Z2013.5 .W6J33 1993
Identifies volumes of verse by about 900 women. Includes indexes of author' names, titles, publishers, and locations of publishers outside London.
Compiled by John T. Shawcross, University of Kentucky and "...tries to bring together all manuscripts and editions of John Milton's works and all studies and critical statements concerning his life and works...."
Kallich, Martin. British Poetry and the American Revolution: A Bibliographical Survey of Books and Pamphlets, Journals and Magazines, Newspapers,
and Prints, 1755-1800. 2 vols.
Z2014 .P7K34 1988
Lochhead, Douglas. A Checklist of Nineteenth Century Canadian Poetry in English: The Maritimes.
REF Z1377 .P7 L6 1987t

Petrauskaite, Edita. Who's Who in the League of Canadian Poets: Directory of Members. 7th ed.
REF PS8081 .L43 1999

Reardon, Joan. Poetry by American Women, 1975-1989: A Bibliography.
REF Z1229 .W8 R42 1990

Reilly, Catherine W. Late Victorian Poetry, 1880-1899: An Annotated Biobibliography.
Z2014 .P7 R453 1994
Riggs, Thomas, ed. Contemporary Poets.
6th ed. PR603 .C6 1996 (See also earlier editions, shelved in the same place.)
7th ed. REF PR603.C6 2001
Ringler, William A. Bibliography and Index of English Verse Printed 1476-1558.
REF Z2014 .P7 R56 1988
Roberts, Adam. Romantic and Victorian Long Poems: A Guide.
REF Z2014 .P7 R67 1999
Willhardt, Mark and Alan Michael Parker, eds. Who's Who in Twentieth Century World Poetry.
REF PN1271 .W46 2000

Anthologies & Compilations

French, David P., ed. Minor English Poets, 1660-1780. 10 vols. (1967)
PR1213 .F7

A Selection from Alexander Chalmers' "The English Poets" [1810].
Goodridge, John, et al., eds. Eighteenth-Century English Labouring-Class Poets. 3 vols. (2003)
PR1195 .L3 E37 2002
Lord, George deF., et al, eds. Poems of Affairs of State: Augustan Satirical Verse, 1660-1714. 10 vols. (New Haven: Yale UP, 1963-1975).
PR1195 .H5P74
A collection of major and minor satirical verse. Arranged chronologically, presenting "political, ecclesiastical, and literary" poems separately.

Guides & Compilations of Secondary Sources

(arranged chronologically by subject, but beginning with comprehensive works)
Dictionary of Literary Biography (Gale) series:
  • Seventeenth-century British Nondramatic Poets. Second Series.
    ed. M. Thomas Hester.
    REF PR541 .S48 1993
  • Eighteenth-century British Poets. First Series.
    ed. John Sitter.
    REF PR551 .E35 1990
  • Eighteenth-century British Poets. Second Series.
    ed. John Sitter.
    REF PR551 .E36 1991
  • Victorian Poets before 1850. ed. William E. Fredeman and Ira B. Nadel.
    REF PR591 .V53 1984
  • British Poets, 1880-1914.
    ed. Donald E. Stanford.
    REF PR581 B7 1983
  • British Poets, 1914-1945.
    ed. Donald E. Stanford.
    REF PR610.B7 1983
  • Poets of Great Britain and Ireland, 1945-1960.
    ed. Vincent B. Sherry, Jr.
    REF PR610 .P56 1984
  • American Poets, 1880-1945, First Series.
    ed. Peter Quarterma (1986).
    REF PS129 .A545 1986
  • American Poets, 1880-1945, Third Series.
    ed. Peter Quarterma, 2 vols.
    REF PS324 .A44 1987
  • American Poets since World War II.
    ed. Donald J. Greiner, 2 vols. (1980).
    REF PS323.5 A5
  • American Poets since World War II, Sixth Series.
    ed. Joseph Conte.
    REF PS323.5 .A5 1998
These illustrated volumes in the Dictionary of Literary Biography series provide a brief critical biography, a bibliography of primary works, and a very selective list of secondary works for each poet.
Dyson, A. E. English Poetry: Select Bibliographical Guides. (1971)
REF Z2014 .P7E53
Extensive selection of criticism up to 1970 on major English poets from Chaucer to Eliot.
Martinez, Nancy C. and Joseph G.R. Martinez. Guide to British Poetry Explication. 4 vols. (1991-1995)
REF Z2014 .P7M34
Cites major interpretations of works by major poets. Each volume (v. 1. Old English, Medieval -- v. 2. Renaissance -- v. 3. Restoration-Romantic -- v. 4. Victorian-Contemporary) is arranged alphabetically by author and title.
Kuntz, Joseph Marshall and Nancy C. Martinez. Poetry Explication: A Checklist of Interpretation since 1925 of British and American Poems Past and Present. 3rd ed.
REF Z2014 .P7K8 1980
A list of articles, published in books and journals from 1925-1977, that explain poems by major authors. Poem titles are arranged alphabetically beneath each author entry.
Alexander, Harriet Semmes. American and British Poetry: A Guide to the Criticism, 1925-78. 2 vols.
REF Z1231 .P7A44 1984
Nokes, David. An Annotated Critical Bibliography of Augustan Poetry.
REF Z2014 .P7 N65 1989t
Faverty, Frederic E., ed. The Victorian Poets: A Guide to Research. 2nd ed.
REF PR593 .F27 1968
Bibliographic essays describing criticism and scholarship (current through 1966) on the major poets and schools.
Jordan, Frank, ed. The English Romantic Poets: A Review of Research and Criticism. 4th ed.
REF PR590 .E5 1985
Bibliographic essays describing criticism and scholarship (current through about 1983) on the Romantic movement and on Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats. Indexed by author, title, critic, and topics.