Searching on the Navigation Bar

Searching Subjects

If you have a specific subject you’d like to search, type that term in the search box.

Example: Love.

As there are many thousands of poems written about love, you will see the subject conveniently categorized into 19 types of love. You may have been looking for “Unspoken Love” for which there are over a hundred poems. If you wanted to see love written about in a general way, you may choose “Love,” for which there are over 700 poems, or Romantic Love, for which there are over 1,500.

The default search is on “SHOW RESULTS FOR: Only Subject Headings.” This results in a page organized by subject headings; click on the heading for a list of poem titles (in alphabetical order, though the list begins with numbers, in numerical order). By clicking on the next entry on the line that begins: SHOW RESULTS FOR, you can change this to: “Authors with Poems in This Subject” or “All Poems with This Subject.” When you change the search to “Authors with Poems in This Subject,” your search results page lists the first 3 authors under each subject heading. Click on “Show complete poet list,” above the author names, in order to see all of the authors under that subject heading. If you click on “All Poems within This Subject” then the first 3 poems are listed under the subject heading; click on “Show complete list of poems in this subject,” or the subject heading, to see all the poems under that subject.


Category View in Subject Search

Each Subject has a Category View to its immediate left. This will show you where your subject exists in the Subject hierarchy. You can browse this Category View in the Browse Subjects, beneath the Browse tab. Example: when searching for poems about “Kingston, Jamaica,” you can see that “Kingston, Jamaica” in the Category View belongs under the subject level “Jamaica” which is under “Caribbean Islands.” Poems exist under each of these subject levels which you can see by clicking on the subject.


Searching Biographies

Type a poet’s name in the search box.

Example: Auden

The search result displays “Auden, W. H. (Wystan Hugh) (1907–73).” Click on it to read the biography.


Searching Commentaries

Type a poem title in the search box labeled Poem Title.

Example: the waste land

The search results displays, “Waste Land, The.” Click on it to read the commentary. Or you can type a search term in the box labeled Poem Text to search the text of the commentaries.

Example: Ezra Pound.

There are 15 results where “Ezra Pound” appears in a commentary. Click on the title to read the commentary.


Searching History and Criticism

Here you will see the titles of published books of literary criticism. Click on the title to see the table of contents of each book, and then click on the chapter to read that chapter. If you wish to search generally through the History and Criticism section, you can type a term in the search box at the top of the page.

Example: “Elizabeth Bishop” (use the quotation marks for an exact match).

There are 31 results where Elizabeth Bishop is mentioned in the books in the History and Criticism section, with the results arranged by chapter title. Those chapters with the most frequent mention of your search term are at the top of the results page. 20 matches were found in the chapter called “Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop” which is the first of the 31 results. “20 matches” means that “Elizabeth Bishop” was found 20 times in that chapter.


Searching Poetry Sources

Here you can search by title, Editor, and Category. Category organizes volumes of poetry into broad categories, usually based on the nationality, ethnicity, or period of the authors. Examples of Source Categories are: American Poetry (periods range from the 17th Century to the 20th Century) British Poetry, Women's Poetry and Feminist Poetry, Children's Poetry, and broader subjects such as Love Poetry or Death Poetry. To search by Source Category, click on one of the Categories in the box and then click on “submit.” To search by title or editor, type the title of the book in the search box beside “Title” or the name of the Editor in the box beside “Editor.”

Example: Good Poems


Searching Glossary Terms

If there is a specific term you wish to search, enter it in the search box next to “Term.”

Example: Haiku

There is one result. Click on it and you can read the definition. There is also a link to a poem, “Fluent with a friend,” as an example.

You can also search the text of the glossary definitions, by typing your search term in the search box beside “Definition.”

Example: Japanese.

There are five results, four of which are forms in Japanese poetry.


Searching Audio

Under “Listening Room” you can browse through the poems with audio, or type the title of the poem (first line if the poem is untitled) in the search box. Click on the poem title, which will bring you to the poem view page. Click on “Audio,” at the top right of the page. You can read the poem while you listen to the audio.


Columbia University Press