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Poems and Poets

A guide for locating resources related to poetry.

Using Library of Congress Subject Headings to find Literary Criticism in Bobcat

Subject Headings: 

Are words and phrases which constitute a "controlled vocabulary" to categorize books by subject field. Subject headings often indicate the contents of books in terms that their titles do not use, which often may be very general.

Subject headings in online databases are often referred to as descriptors, but they serve the same purpose in locating valuable resources. Using a "keyword" search will identify catalog entries that contain those specific terms which can add value to a search; however, the terms can be found anywhere - author, notes, publisher, etc. - therefore there is no indication of the value of the term(s) as content matter of the items in a results list.

Critical works are classified and sorted by author's name, dates of birth and death, and the subheading, Criticism and Interpretation.

Here are some examples of Subject Headings:

  • Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997 -- Criticism and interpretation
  • Brooks, Gwendolyn, 1917-2000 - Criticism and interpretation
  • Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892 - Criticism and interpretation
  • Komunyakaa, Yusef -- Criticism and interpretation
  • Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 1806-1861 -- Criticism and interpretation

Literary Criticism via General / Multi-Disciplinary databases

Literary Criticism via Subject Specific databases

Database search tips

Here are some tips for better search results in databases.

This usage works on most databases, but check 'Help' sections for supported search syntax.

Boolean: (using operators: and, or, not)

  • mother AND father searches for occurrences of both words within scope defined.
  • mother OR father searches for one or all, but both are not required.
  • mother NOT father searches for occurrences of the word ‘mother’ without use of the word ‘father.’
  • (mother NOT father) AND god searches for occurrences of the word ‘mother’ without use of the word ‘father,’ then also requires the word ‘god.’


art* (asterisk as truncation character) searches for art, arts, artistic, artful, etc.


m?n (question mark as wildcard character) searches for man and men.