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How to Find a Poem by Key Words


Internet search engines provide users through keyword searches a rapid means of locating websites on any topic. Whether you're a student looking for a specific poem for a class project or reading assignment, or simply searching for a poem that you remember reading, finding a poem online using key words isn't difficult. The keywords that you use come directly from any information that you have about the poem, its author and/or the period in which the poem it was written.

Gather any information that you have about the poem (author, title, lines from the poem and/or any other information about the author or poem).

Use the author’s name/part of the name or poem title. For example, to find "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe, you might use any of the following:

Edgar Allan Poe Annabel Lee Poe

If you have only the author's name, choose a website featuring the author's poems to continue your search. Go to Step 4, if you have lines from the poem.

Combine the author's name with the poem's title. For example:

Edgar Allan Poe Annabel Lee Poe Annabel Lee

To narrow further, use the keyword "poem" in combination with your primary keywords:

Poe Annabel poem

Type line(s) from the poem as keywords. Use the lines in combination with the keyword "poem" and/or the author's name. For example:

the woods are lovely dark and deep poem Frost the woods are lovely dark and deep poem

Either keyword set should result with the title "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost.

Enter biographical, period or other information as keywords in combination with author, title and/or lines.

Example 1: you have a poem line (the vorpal blade went snicker-snack), but you don't know the poem's author or title. You have an idea of when the author wrote it—a specific year or series of years such as a decade or century (the 1800s).

the vorpal blade went snicker-snack 1800s

Result: poem titled “Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll.

Example 2: you have lines from the poem (the cicada unwinding his thin green string of a bow) and you know that the author is American and a woman. You also know that the poem appeared in a book, but you have only part of the title ("if I had wheels or love"). Type any combinations of keywords based on this information:

American poet woman if I had wheels or love poet if I had wheels or love

Result: book title "If I Had Wheels or Love: Collected Poems of Vassar Miller."

Narrow your search based on the word "cicada" or the lines of the poem.

Tip
  • To quickly find the title of a poem on a website about the poem's author, use your Internet browser's "Find" feature to highlight the title keywords on the page. If you don't know the location of your Internet browser's "Find" feature, refer to your browser's "Help" screen and use "Find" as your keyword to locate information on using the feature in your specific browser.
Warning
  • Never rely the line(s) of a poem as your only keywords as using line(s) alone can sometimes hinder your search for a poem if the line isn’t recognized by the search engine or contains too many words. Always use the word "poem" to narrow the search and differentiate your search from prose or music lyrics.
About the Author

Based in Southern Pennsylvania, Irene A. Blake has been writing on a wide range of topics for over a decade. Her work has appeared in projects by The National Network for Artist Placement, the-phone-book Limited and GateHouse Media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University.

Photo Credits
  • Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images