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Explication of a Literary Work

Reference Books

Critical Terms for Literary Study: CREDO eBook

English Novel Explication: Criticisms to 1972: REF Z2014 .P7 K8

The Explicator Cyclopedia: REF PN218 .W4

Guide to American Poetry Explication vol. 1: REF Z 1231 .P7 G85 1989

Modern and Contemporary (Guide to American Poetry Explication vol. 2):  REF Z1231.P7 L46 1989

New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: REF PN 1021 .N39 1993

(Also available as a CREDO eBook)

Poetry Explication: a Checklist of Interpretation Since 1925 of British and American Poems Past and Present: REF Z2014 .P7 K8


Books to Check Out

A Dictionary of Literary Symbols: PN 56 .S7 F47 2000

(Also available as a CREDO eBook)

From page to stage: how theatre designers make connections between scripts and images: PN2091.S8 I45 1998

A Grain of Poetry: How to Read Contemporary Poems and Make Them A Part of Your Life: PN1075 .K65 2000

How to Read a Poem: PR502 .E23 2007

The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism: PN86 .N67 2010

The Poem in Its Skin: PS323.5 .C3

The Poetry Handbook

The Poetry Toolkit: PN1059.A9 H37 2012

The Secret Language of Symbols: a Visual Key to Symbols and Their Meanings:  BF458 .F56 1994


Literary Journals

For full-text access to a specific literary journal, search for the title in the A-Z eJournal List.


Research Databases for Full-Text Articles

CREDO Literati

Find an encyclopedia article about explication

Oxford English Dictionary

Find a definition of the word “explication”

Literature Resource Center

Search for a poem/literary work as Name of Work or poet/author as Person-By or About and look for Criticism articles

Academic Search Complete

Use Advanced Search to search for an author/title (as Subject or Title) and "criticism" (as Subject)


Use Advanced Search to search for an author/title in the Title field and "criticism" in Full Text



Poetry Explications – The Writing Center

A handout from the University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill

Poetry Explication – The Writing Studio

An explication exercise from Duke University

Explication of a Poem

Features an outline and an example of poetry explication