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ENGL 2506: Studies in Poetry: Lyric and the Environment

Research guide for students in Micah Holmes's Spring 2020 ENGL2506 class.

Research Using Library Databases

The UVA Library subscribes to hundreds of databases that contain scholarly resources not available on the free web. Access to most of these databases is restricted to current members of the UVA community. Since you will be accessing materials from off Grounds, you will be prompted to sign in with NetBadge when using these resources. For some resources, you may need to use the VPN - see tab on left side menu (also see the Off-Grounds Access link for more information).

The best way to connect to the library's databases is through the research portal. This guide provides a  list of recommended databases, ebooks, interviews, and online sources for your assignment. There are many more resources available that might be useful.

If you would like research help, please email me your questions, or I am available for meetings virtually using Zoom. You can schedule an appointment with me by clicking the button in my information box to the left, by selecting a day/time on my Make an Appointment page, or by contacting me directly at When you make an appointment, I will send you a Zoom link for us to meet. If Zoom will not work for you, please email me and we will find another option for meeting. Need help right away? Please contact a librarian using one of our Ask a Librarian options. ​

Databases for Finding Articles about Poetry & the Environment

Think broadly when brainstorming terms to use when searching databases.

  • What synonyms or related terms could stand in for your key search terms? 
  • You can combine search terms using AND ("Sea Change" AND nature) and OR (nature OR environment OR ecology OR planet). 
  • In many databases, the asterisk (*) is a truncation or "wildcard" symbol  that will match all possible endings for a word stem.  For example, environ* will match environment, environmental, environmentalism, etc. 
  • Most databases have filters or facets that allow you to narrow your results by subject, date range, etc. Limit your searches to help you find the sources you need. 
The MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB) indexes the broadest range of resources about literature (including poetry) in all languages, as well as film, television, and popular culture, including over 4,000 journals as well as books and dissertations.For articles not available full-text in MLA, click on “Find article @ UVa Libraries,” or look up the journal title in VIRGO.
Literature Online - The Criticism search includes ABELL (Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature) and references from articles and books on English language and literature. Many cited journals are available in full text. Literature Online also includes the full text of many works of poetry from America, Canada, England, and other countries, mostly through the early 20th century. 
Columbia Granger's World of Poetry contains full text of over 250,000 poems, mostly in English, but also including poems in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. It also includes information about and citations from thousands more poems, plus biographies of poets, and analyses of poems. Use the History & Criticism option to search for articles in books like Columbia History of American Poetry, Columbia History of British Poetry, Lectures on the English Poets, and more. Brief commentaries of some poems are also available. 
Humanities International Complete indexes over 2000 journals as well as books and other publications. Topics covered include archaeology, art, dance, drama, ethnic and women's history, literature, music, philosophy, poetry, religion. 

includes older issues of scholarly journals, from the start to 3-5 years ago.
Project Muse provides full-text searching of recent articles from major scholarly journals, including roughly 120 journals about literature. Like JSTOR, Project Muse is not as comprehensive as the MLAIB, but offers the advantages of full-text searching and instant access to PDFs.

Biography & Biocritical Databases

Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB) traces the lives and careers of selected authors, critics, screenwriters, journalists, scholars, and publishers from all eras and genres, with lists of recommended books and articles. Search for the author you want and choose the Biographies tab. The DLB link above will take you to Gale Literature, a larger collection where you can also find criticism, reviews, and more. 

Scribner's Writers Online includes brief biographies and critical studies of authors, mostly of literary works in English. 

Twayne Author Series includes full text of ca. 600 books on the lives and works of U.S. and international authors. Recommended books and articles.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) provides articles on the lives of British persons from the earliest times to the end of the 20th century. Note: We only have limited access so please close your browser when finished with this resource

Finding items using Virgo

Virgo, the UVA Library’s primary search tool, contains catalog records for books, print journals, DVDs, maps, and digitized materials, as well as links to online articles from our rich array of subscription journals. You can search catalog materials and articles together, or view those results separately, using the facets provided to limit your results by author, format, publication period, and more. To find online content in the catalog, use Format limiters like EBook, Streaming Video, or Online to limit your catalog search results. 

Example subject terms:

  • Conservation of Natural Resources in Literature
  • Ecocriticism 
  • Ecology in Literature
  • Ecolinguistics
  • Environmentalism in Literature
  • Environmental Protection in Literature
  • Nature Conservation in Literature
  • Nature in Literature
  • Philosophy of Nature in Literature

Example E-Books of Interest

Below are just a few of many examples of ebooks available that discuss poetry and the environment. Try searching for a particular poem or work, for a poet, or use the subject term recommendations above to get started searching in Virgo for relevant materials. Limit your format to EBook to find books available for online reading. Most ebooks have a search feature and/or index that will help you find sections relevant to your research topic.