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Speech 1110:Oral Interpretation

Locating Poems, Plays, and Short Stories


Library Catalog

There are several ways to search for poems, plays, and short stories in the Library Catalog.

Title Search 
A title Search will only locate your piece if the title of the piece is the same as the title of the book.
Keyword Search 
A keyword search is useful for locating pieces that are part of a collection. This will only be successful if the title appears someplace in the book's title, or if there is a table of contents listed in the library record. Not all library records list the table of contents.
Author Search 
You can do an author search and look for titles like
  • Five Collected Plays
  • The Major Poems of...
  • Complete Works of....

You would then need to go to the book and check the table of contents.

Reference Books

If you are trying to locate works on a particular subject you may want to start with an index from the Reference Collection. The books may look confusing at first, but they are not hard to use. They do require perseverance though. These call numbers are for the base numbers. You will find the volumes next to each other however. In all cases be persistent: your piece may not be in the first volume you pick up and even if it is we may not own the collection listed in that particular volume. Most good pieces appear in several anthologies over the years.

Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry Reference PN 1022 .H39
Granger's main index lists the title of the poem, first line of the poem, or last line of the poem. There are separate author and subject lists in the back. If you know the title, first line, or last line you can go to that index first. If you are looking for poems by subject, start in the subject index. Once you identify the title and author you will need to refer to the title index. Your entry might look like this:

As Sometimes in a Grove. Frederick Goddard Tuckerman. NCAP

The NCAP is an abbreviation of the collection where you would find the poem. In the front of the book you will see a list of the collections alphabetically by abbreviation. NCAP stands for Nineteenth Century American Poetry. You would look up that title in the Library Catalog. If we know that we own the title you may see the call number penciled in.

Play Index Reference PN 1621 .P5x
There is one index that contains author, title, and subject. If you are looking up a play by title or subject you will be shown the author's name. You must then look up the author entry and find the title of the play. (If you know the author already go there first.) If the entry you find looks like this:

Elton, Ben
Silly Cow. Warner Bks. 1993 90 p

then you would to a title search for Silly Cow or an author search for Elton, Ben in the Library catalog. If your entry looks like this:

Elton, Ben
Silly Cow
In Gilroy, F. D. A way with words: five one act plays.

then the play is part of a collection and you would do a title search for A Way With Words: Five One Act Plays in the Library Catalog. In the back of the book there is a list of the collections that are indexed. You can also check there to see if the Library owns the book. If we do, we have listed the call number for you.

Short Story Index Reference PN 3373 .S42
Short Story Index has just one combined index that has author, title, and subject. If you are looking up a story by title or subject you will need to identify the author and then look up the author. The entry should look something like this

Dubus, Andre, 1936-1999
A father's story
A Celestial omnibus; ed. by J. P. Maney and T. Hazuka

This means that the short story called A Father's Story; is part of the book A Celestial Omnibus. You should do a title search for A Celestial Omnibus in the Library Catalog.

If you are specifically looking for monologues from plays, try the sources listed below.

Actor's Guide to Monologues Reference PN 2080 .G78 1974
Guide to Monologues, Men Reference PN 2080 .G84 1988
Guide to Monologues, Women Reference PN 2080 .G85 1988
Play Index Reference PN 1621 .P5x (Look up Monologues)
Smith and Kraus Monologue Index Reference PN 2080 .S6 1995

Library Databases

These Library databases seldom actually contain the piece of literature itself, but rather information that may help you interpret the piece.

Discovering Collection 
Comprised of several Discovering Program titles such as Discovering Authors. Contains thousands of overview essays, critical analyses, biographies, timelines and multimedia elements.
JSTOR is an archive of digitized journal articles ranging in date from the 1700's to the early 2000's. These collections span a variety of subjects in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Physical Sciences.
Literature Resource Center 
Literature Resource Center provides access to biographies and criticism of authors from every age and literary discipline.
Magill's OnLiterature Plus 
MagillOnLiterature contains editorially reviewed critical analyses and brief plot summaries. Also provides access to information on notable authors.

Internet Sites


Academy of American Poets 
Contemporary poetry
American Verse Project 
Assembling an electronic archive of volumes of American poetry prior to 1920.
Atlantic Online: Fiction and Poetry
Contemporary American Poetry Archive 
Designed to make out-of-print volumes of poetry available.
Fooling with Words PBS Bill Moyers program featuring contemporary poets. Includes poetry readings.
Internet Archive 
Contains readings, lectures, seminars, panels and workshops from a constellation of artists who aim at restoring the poet's ancient role as keeper of the culture and social commentator.
The Literary Web: Poetry 
A collection of links to poetry sites.
Mudlark, An Electronic Journal of Poetry & Poetics
Poetry Archives 
Thousands of classical poems.
Poetry Online 
Audio readings of works of poetry.
Poetry Foundation 
"At the core of the site is an archive of more than 3,000 contemporary and classic poems in English by more than 250 poets, which includes poems and essays from back issues of Poetry magazine." The poetry tool allows you to search y poet, title, or theme.
Representative Poetry Online 
Includes over 3,000 poems from the old English period to the twentieth century.
Thousands of poems by hundreds of authors.


Baker's Plays
Dramatist's Play Service
Eugene O'Neill.com
Samuel French, Inc.
Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online

General Sources of On-Line Texts

Bartleby: Great Books Online
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30 August 2006

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