How to Search for a Poem

Reply to an inquiry on searching for a poem:

I was asked, "I have some snatches of poems, odd lines here and there and I'd like to be able to search the archive to try to find the complete works. They might be here but since I cannot remember either the poet or the title it's hard to look." I assume many share the similar wish (including myself). I only wish there were a modern poetry equivalent to "Digital Tradition Folk Song Full Text Search."

Of course, if you were looking for T. S. Eliot poetry, you can try TSEbase: The Online Concordance to T. S. Eliot's Poems.

Or, if it is a piece likely to be anthologized, you might be able to find it in, say, Granger's Index to Poetry (Columbia UP) or its CD-ROM version (The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry from Columbia UP).

Or, if it is an English poem between 600 and 1900, it is most certainly to be found in English Poetry Database CD-ROM (Chadwyck-Healey) which some libraries hold.

And don't forget that most e-text centers have search capability. To name but a few:

This page is a collection of my tips on how to search for a poem on the Internet.

Last updated: 9 April 2003

20th-century Poetry Index Page
Quid prodest hoc ad aeternitatem
Faculty of Letters, Kobe University