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Poetry: Finding Books of Poems, or Books About Poetry, or Relevant Documentaries

An introduction to reading and writing about poetry

Finding Poetry Books at Cañada Library

Q: How do I find poem(s) by a particular writer?

A: Search the library catalog for a poet's name, not the title of a poem. Generally, individual poems are not listed in the library catalog, so instead look for a collection of works by a poet or a poetry anthology (a collection of poems by several authors).

Q: How do I find a particular poem?

A: First, find out the name of the poet. You can usually Google the title of the poem or a line of text if you don't know the name, though you might have to add "poem." Then you can either just fine the poem online, or see if it's in a book we have in the library (see above).

Q: What's the best way to find an anthology?

A: Anthologies are collections of poetry by different authors. Many focus on one style or era of poetry, while others might be collections of poems from certain themes (love poems, etc.), regions, or countries.

To find an anthology, use the OneSearch box on the library's homepage and try out a keyword search in the empty search box:

  • Poetry Anthologies

  • Poetry Collections

  • American Poetry 19th Century

  • American Poetry 20th Century

  • American Poetry 21st Century

Q: How can I tell whether a book is poetry or prose? Does the Library of Congress indicate this in its catalog records?

A: The Library of Congress does not explicitly indicate whether a book is poetry or prose in its catalog records. You can review the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) assigned to a book to see whether a word such as poetry or biography, which might help indicate the form of the book, is given.

A subject term such as poetry is typically used to designate a prose work about poetry (e.g., a collection of essays), and not a work of poetry itself.

Q: I don't understand all the words that are used around poetry. What's a sonnet, or a ceasure? What's heroic verse, as opposed to blank verse? 

A: Poetry does come with its own complex and specialized language, and poetry terms can be a lot. But the Poetry Foundation's Glossary of Poetic Terms, will give you a definition for anything you will come across.

Library Catalog

Library Catalog

Ebooks at Canada

eBooks at the Cañada Library

  •  EBSCO eBooks 70,000 full-text ebooks on academic subjects from business to science and engineering to the humanities


  • O'Reilly Learning provides access to over 5000 technical and business ebooks. Browse by most popular titles. Read on your computer or mobile device.


  • PLS Overdrive includes popular fiction and nonfiction subjects for both adults, teens, and children. Read on your computer or mobile device. Note that Overdrive is a Peninsula Library System database and you will need your PLS card to access it.

Books of Poetry by a Single Author

Anthologies of Poetry (Poems from Multiple Authors Around a Topic)

Poetry Criticism in Anthologies

Many poetry anthologies will provide some criticism and discussion of the poems they contain. if you have a specific poet or poem(s), or even an era or style of poetry (for example, "Sonnets," or "American Poems"), then see if you can find a relevant anthology.

Otherwise, go to the tab Finding Article About Poetry or Poems tab of this LibGuide.

Poetry Criticism: Books About Poems or Poetry

Documentaries and Films from Cañada Library

Our Films on Demand and Kanopy databases (available at the links below or on our homepage in the "Films" tab) have numerous excellent documentaries you can use to better research poems, genres or styles of poetry, the history or poetry, or anything else you may need. You can also find videos of reading or quote these videos for assignments.  

To use these database, first log in (For Kanopy, make sure to log in using the "Login to Cañada College" button, not the standard Login button), then try searching for your poet, poem, or movement. Here are some examples:

  • Poetry 
  • Poetry in music
  • Sonnet
  • Slam poetry
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay

Most of these results are short clips, but if you find one you like you can easily follow it's provided link to the full video it was cut from.