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EH 102 (SP 2018) - Poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil

How to Research a Poet or Poem

Do you feel like this: I have a title of a poem, the name of a poet, AND a project due. How do I even start?

If you follow these three, easy steps and use the Brenau Trustee Library discovery tool you will be on your way to getting your assignment finished.


  • Brainstorm: After you have read and digested your poem (a few times) you should be able identify search terms that will help you find useful information.
    • For example: If you chose Henrietta Cordelia Ray's "Toussaint L'Ouverture"  for this assignment, you would not search for the title of the poem, but rather for the author's name. This search leads you to eBooks such as African American Authors, 1745-1945: Bio-bibliographical Critical Sourcebook and journal articles such as African American Women's Writing in the Woman's Building Library


  • Locate critical analysis of your poet's body of work by using the author's name AND criticism
    • For example, searching George Eliot AND criticism will lead you to George Eliot and the British Empire, an eBook which places "George Eliot's life and work within the contexts of mid nineteenth-century British colonialism and imperialism" (Jacket). You will also find over 700 articles about the author.


  • Exploring a poem's historical contexts or artistic precursors will bring better understanding of your chosen poem. When brainstorming for search terms, remember to look for major themes or ideas found in the poem.
    • For example: If you were using Ray's "Toussaint L'Ouverture" you might use search these terms: Haitian revolution AND Toussaint; these are terms that you will find in your source poem.