Poetry & Short Story Reference Center

Poetry & Short Story Reference Center is a rich full-text database of hundreds of thousands of classic and contemporary poems, plus thousands of short stories, biographies, essays, lesson plans and learning guides. It also includes high-quality videos and audio recordings from the Academy of American Poets and other sources.

A Historically Rich Collection of Poems, Short Stories and More

Poetry & Short Story Reference Center comes with a dedicated search interface that allows users to browse content by categories such as most studied poems, poets, short stories and themes.

In addition to poems and short stories, the database includes plays and speeches, classic books, biographies, critical analyses, contextual essays and explications for important works, and essays on poetic forms, literary terms, techniques and movements.

Superior Content 

Poetry & Short Story Reference Center provides contemporary content from the finest publishers including Knopf, Houghton Mifflin, New Directions, Copper Canyon Press and dozens of authors and estates, as well as major respected reference books such as Critical Survey of Poetry and Critical Survey of Short Fiction and literary journals.

Additional highlights include:

  • More than 2,600 audio recordings of poets reading their own works from the Academy of American Poets, poets reading works of other poets and podcasts from The Poetry Foundation
  • High-quality videos provided by the Academy of American Poets and MacNeil/Lehrer Productions
  • More than 440 full-text explications of both classic and contemporary poems

Poetry showcases from The Paris Review highlight current and emerging poets and their works. Each showcase includes the poet’s biography, two to six poems, and an interview with the poet. Audio recordings of these interviews, as well as poets reciting their works, are also available.

Poetry & Short Story Reference Center contains selected works of major and minor American and English poets, along with international poetry representing each continent (accompanied by English translations, when available). 

Features and Functionality

  • Infographics depicting short story plot points and poetry word clouds
  • Text-to-Speech for HTML articles to assist struggling readers, auditory learners or those developing English-language proficiency
  • Citation tool to help students format references
  • Advanced search with Lexile Reading Level and page length limiters to help address text complexity requirements
  • 180 lesson plans/labs from the Poetry Foundation
  • Literary glossary

School Curriculum Support

Poetry & Short Story Reference Center offers supplemental teaching and learning guides featuring lesson plans and assignments specifically crafted for use with this database. "Poetry Off the Page" lesson plans align with NCTE and Common Core curriculum standards.


Users can browse by author name, by poem or short-story title, by poem forms or techniques, by periods and movements, and by themes. The advanced search functionality and the browsability of the collection are high-quality features. Recommended for academic institutions.

Bonnie J. M. Swoger, Library Journal