How to Find a Poem

Using the library catalog

1. By author: Look up the name of the poet and note the call number of the particular poem or poetry book (Shakespeare has his own number: 822.33)
2. By title: For long poems (epics, ballads, etc.), look up the title of the poem and note the call number
3. By subject: Look up the following subject headings or any heading with the subdivision Poetry. (The number following some subjects is the call number for those kinds of poems)

American poetry [811]
Children's poetry
Christmas poetry
English poetry [821]
Free verse
French poetry [841]
German poetry [831]
Greek poetry [881]
Humorous poetry
Latin poetry [871]
Love poetry
Narrative poetry
Nature poetry
Pastoral poetry
Patriotic poetry
Religious poetry
Russian poetry [891.7]
Science fiction poetry
Sea poetry
Spanish poetry [861]
War poetry

Look, as well, for subject headings with subdivision Poetry, e.g. African Americans--Poetry; Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1965--Poetry; Animals--Poetry; Women--Poetry; etc.

Using Granger's Index to Poetry
    The library has the sixth and seventh editions of Granger's Index to Poetry (REF 808.81 GRA). The 6th ed. indexes poetry anthologies published through 1970, the 7th ed. indexes anthologies published from 1970 through 1981.
Finding a specific poem if you know the title
    Granger's indexes poems by author, title or first line, and subject. Here is an example of how to find a specific poem, "Fire and Ice," by Robert Frost.

  • Turn to the TITLE AND FIRST LINE INDEX. Locate "Fire and Ice."
  • Here, in addition to the author's name, are groups of letters; AmPP, BiP, etc. These are the symbols for the titles of anthologies (collections) in which "Fire and Ice" appears.
  • To find the exact titles of these collections, turn to the front section of Granger's Index, labeled KEY TO SYMBOLS.
  • Find AmPP, a collection titled American Poetry and Prose. (In many cases, anthologies which the library has are marked with their call numbers).
  • Copy this title, the edition, and date of publication, go to the catalog and enter the title in the catalog search screen.  If the book is in the collection and is on the shelf copy the call number for the book and find it on the shelf. Use the index or table of contents to find the poem.
  • If the first collection is not in the library use the next collection symbol and repeat the process.

  • Finding any poem by a specific author
  • Turn to the AUTHOR INDEX. Locate the author you want a poem by.
  • Find a particular poem title.
  • Go through the above steps under "Finding a specific poem."

  • Finding a poem on a particular subject
  • Turn to the SUBJECT INDEX. Locate the subject you want a poem on.
  • Find a particular poem title.
  • Go through the above steps under "Finding a specific poem."

  • More than five thousand categories were used in the 7th edition, but "some subjects, such as Love, are so broad that no effort has been made to include individual poems; instead, readers are referred in the SUBJECT INDEX to anthologies devoted entirely to the subject. ...the TITLE AND FIRSTLINE INDEX may serve as a supplement to the SUBJECT INDEX in certain instances, although deducing a subject from the title alone is sometimes deceptive." (From Granger's Index to Poetry, 7th ed.)

    If none of the items are in the library's collections check the MARINet catalog -

    Return to the Redwood Cybrary Poetry Page
    Created by the Redwood Cybrary Webspinner: Jun. 2000. Updated Oct. 27, 2003.

    ©2000-2003 Tom Kaun, Library Media Teacher--Bessie Chin Library-Redwood High School, 395 Doherty Drive, Larkspur, CA 94939 -- 415.945.3662