Literature and Composition


Literature and Composition

The literary world is vast, encompassing the world’s languages and histories in the form of poetry, drama, narrative and literary criticism. Literary resources take up almost half the nonfiction space in the Humanities department. It ranges from creative and practical writing resources to volumes of American, European and global short stories, plays, and poetry. Ample criticisms complement the collection, contextualizing the world’s literature. With the help of the Humanities staff, you can find original texts and resources for homework, research, or just for your own reading pleasure. Useful for both students and scholars, our collection of literary fiction and critical analyses of literature is among the best.

The links below give you an idea of how varied literary resources can be. This page will lead the researcher as well as the casual reader to fresh and up-to-date resources.

General Reference

  • The Memphis Public Library and Information Center Literary Databases - Access Literature Criticism Online, Books and Authors, the Literature Resource Center, the Scribners Writers Series, and the Twayne Author Series through the MPLIC database page. Literature Criticism Online features online texts of premier reference series Contemporary Literature Criticism, Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, Poetry Criticism, and Shakespearean Criticism.
  • - Contains access to Strunk’s Elements of Style, Roget’s Thesaurus, Oxford Shakespeare, the Harvard Classics, and much much more. Excellent resource for anything literary and then some.
  • Project Gutenberg - Over 39,000 free ebooks now available to the public.

Academic Writing, Grammar and Style

  • Critical Review Writing - Excellent source for tips on academic writing.
  • The Elements of Style - Not sure if you should include a comma? Is your semicolon misplaced? How about passive voice - how can you tell? Strunk’s Elements of Style is a classic of correct composition.
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab - The Purdue OWL is an excellent resource for writing and citation tips.
  • Purdue OWL Grammar Guide - From spelling to subject/verb agreement to irregular verbs, Purdue OWL breaks it down.
  • Oxford Guide to Better Writing - Great source for grammar and punctuation tips, as well as a guide to practical writing for job applications and correspondence.
  • Grammarist - A blog for the grammar nerd, and an excellent resource for correct usage.
  • Citation Machine - Cite any source in MLA, APA, Turabian and Chicago styles using this handy fill-in-the-blanks citation engine.

Literary Theory and History

Word and Book Fun

  • Merriam-Webster Word of the Day - Improve your vocabulary and impress your friends by learning a new word every day.
  • - A quick way to find the meanings of words. Also includes a thesaurus and a translator.
  • Oxford Online Dictionaries - Free online dictionary, plus word puzzles and games, and a language blog.
  • The Invisible Library - An exhaustive resource of books...that only appear in other books.
  • Literary Kicks - It started as a tribute to the Beat Generation - now it is a thriving community for writers and Beat fans to read, research and share poetry.

Creative Writing

  • Writer’s Digest - A magazine devoted to helping you write better and get published.
  • The Writer Magazine - Another great magazine featuring articles about writing and a directory of writing agents, programs and publishers.
  • Poets and Writers Magazine -  The premier magazine for writers - in print and online. An excellent source for literary inspiration and guidance, plus a comprehensive listing of contest dates and MFA program rankings.
  • AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) - This national literary organizations provides support for writers whether researching an MFA program, attending a conference, trying to find a job, or looking to publish.
  • NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month website - write your novel this November!
  • Duotrope - This website offers a free, easy, and innovative way to keep track of the manuscripts you submit to journals and magazines. Not only that, they let you know who is accepting submissions, what they are looking for, and when the deadline is.
  • Poetry for People - Visit the site or subscribe for a poetry prompt everyday.


  • - From the Academy of American Poets, this site is an excellent resource for educators and poetry readers looking for news in the poetry world and poems relevant for any situation.
  • Poetry for People - Visit the site or subscribe for a poetry prompt everyday.
  • Poetry Archive - There is no substitute for hearing poets read their own work. Listen to hundreds at the Poetry Archive.
  • Poetry Foundation - Created by the 100 year old Poetry magazine, the Poetry Foundation features connections to poems, poets, and resources for teachers.
  • Poetry Out Loud - Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest for high school students. Listen and watch inspiring past performances and get your school signed up to compete.
  • Favorite Poem Project - Founded by former poet laureate Robert Pinsky, the Favorite Poem Project features videos of Americans reading their favorite poems.
  • American Poetry Review Photo Records - Ever wanted to know what your favorite poet looked like? Find that and more at this photographic archive of poetry ephemera.
  • National Poetry Map - Choose a state to read more about the literary history, poets, and literary events happening on a local level.
  • The Poetry Station - Innovative video poems that play in sound, form, and vision.
  • Good Reads: Poetry - Personalized poetry recommendations from the good people at Good Reads.
  • The Page - A constantly updated blogroll highlighting and linking the newest and most interesting poems and essays about poetry being published online.

Literary Awards

There are far too many book awards to list. Below are a few notable prizes in the publishing and writing world, but you find an exhaustive list of American, British, and world prizes at the Wikipedia page for Literary Awards.

Literary Publications and Websites

Like literary awards, there are far too many little magazines, small press journals, and literary reviews to possibly list - but here are just a few.

  • Luna Park Review - A blog reviewing literary magazines. Not to be missed when delving into the extensive and complicated world of literary publishing.
  • New York Review of Books - The latest reviews in literary publishing.
  • The Paris Review - The giant of the small press. Features the newest creative work with luminaries in the literary world, plus many insightful interviews with authors.
  • Arts and Letters Daily - Brought to you by The Chronicle of Higher Education, this site strives to bring you the internet world of literary news, criticism, opinions, trends and breakthroughs. Updated six days a week, it follows the motto Veritas Odit Moras, or Truth Hates Delay.
  • The Times Literary Supplement - Book reviews, opinion, and criticism offering an British perspective on the life of the mind.
  • New Pages - A great source for independent, alternative and small press magazines.


Local Newspapers

Journalism Links

Local Literary Links