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How to Cite a Poem

Learn How to Cite a Poem in MLA and Other Fundamentals

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How to Cite a Poem
 Jack Morgan   Published On Aug 23, 2021 | Updated on Oct 06, 2023  Essay

Poetry is the artistic form of writing and is often used in essays and research papers by literature and language students. However, it is challenging to include poem quotes in your writing if you don't know how to cite a poem accurately.When you quote a poet in an essay, you must properly format the in-text citation and quotation to help your grader find the correct source of the cited quote. In this guide, you will how to cite a poem in MLA along with necessary citing requirements.

How to Cite a Poem in MLA – Guidelines & Examples

The formatting guidelines of citing a poem vary by the source of the poem. You may have basic questions like - do you put poem titles in quotes or how to write the title of a poem in an essay. Hence to answer how to write the title of a poem in MLA, here’s what you must remember:In MLA, titles of books, websites, films, plays, and databases are italicized. They are only placed in quotes if it is a part of a larger work. Furthermore, poems, assignment help webpages, songs, chapters, essays, speeches, and articles are written within quotation marks. Before you learn how to cite a poem in MLA, gather the following details if available:

  • Poet’s first and last name

  • Line, page range, or the page no.

  • Poem’s title

  • Publication year

  • Publication name where the poem is in – the title of the book/website/ anthology

  • Publishing company/website name

  • URL for online sources

  • Editor(s) first and last name(s) (for anthologies only)

Let’s look at the basic format of popular sources:
  • To cite a poem found online in MLA, the format is:
Format: Poet’s Last Name, First Name. “Poem’s Title.” Year of poem’s original publication (if available). Website Title, Website Publisher’s name, URL. Accessed day month year.
  • How to cite a poem from a book:
So, how to cite a poem in MLA from a book? To cite a poem from a book in MLA, the basic format is:


Format: Poet’s Last Name, First Name. “Poem’s Title.” Book’s Title, Name of Publishing Company, Publication year, page no. or page range.

Example: Frost, Rob. “Birds.” Selected Poems, Snow Press, 2017, p. 20.

  • How to cite a poem from an Anthology:
An anthology is the compilation of different poems by different poets. The following is the format of citing a poem from an anthology: 

Format: Poet’s Last Name, First Name. “Poem’s Title.” Anthology’s Title, edited by Editor’s First and Last Name, edition (if applicable), volume (if applicable), Publisher, year of anthology publication, page no. or page range. 

Example: Wilson, Daymond. “Love.” The Big Book of Poetry, edited by Will Ray, Five Petals Press Inc, 2017, p. 58.

In-Text Citations

For in-text citations for poems in MLA style, you have to provide:

  • The poet’s last name
  • The line number/ page range numbers of the poem
Format: (Poet’s Last Name, line(s) &&)

Example: (Chaucer, lines 11-20)

Note: In case you don't have the line numbers, include the name within the brackets.

Example: (Chaucer)

For poems with divisions (acts, scenes, cantos, books, parts) and line numbers:

Format: (Poet's Last Name Division Number. Line Number(s))

Example: (Paul 7.690-697)

Note: 7.690-697 refers to canto 7, lines 690-697

How to Quote Lines of a Poem?

Using quotes from a poem is different from referring to a poem within your essay. For using direct quotes from a poem, put it in quotation marks.

If you wonder how to cite up to three lines in a poem, it's pretty simple. All you have to do is use quotations and a “/” symbol to separate the lines and give space on either side of the "/". Then, for in-text citation, write it at the end of the quote in parentheses, in close quotes, before the period.

Example:  "Roads diverged, and I – / I chose the darker one /, And that has made all the difference" (Frog, lines 11-13). 

How to Quote a Poem – Quoting Four or More Lines

Many of you may wonder how to quote multiple lines of a poem. Quoting four or more lines in a poem is slightly different from quotes with three or fewer lines.For those of you thinking how to quote 3+ lines of a poem, here are a few formatting guidelines you must remember: 

No using quotation marks

  • Mostly use a colon(: ) at the end of your sentence before directly quoting from the poem.

  • After writing the sentence introducing a quote, leave an empty line and then begin the quote.

  • Use a half-inch indent from the left throughout the quote to separate a long quote from the rest of the essay/paper.

  • Use a hanging indent for longer lines.

  • Write the in-text citation in parentheses at the end of the quote. Then, move to the following line on the right side of the page for the long lines.

How to Quote Lyrics in an Essay?

How to quote lyrics in an essay? The main worry of students looking to include inspiring verses from their favorite songs into their papers. But not anymore! Here’s your quick guide on how to quote lyrics in an essay in MLA style:

When writing a citation for lyrics, write the artiste's name after the quote in parentheses. Also, remember to use quotation marks to cite songs. But for quoting several lines, use a block quote, indenting the citation from the paragraph.

Quoting Lyrics in References 

In the reference list, write the artist's name first, followed by the album name, the recording studio, and the date. You can also mention the format if needed.

Format: The Artist. The Album. Studio, 1997. CD.If you’ve used a website, provide the URL after the date.

Format: The Artist. The Album. Studio, 1997. URL.

Note: For citing songs, write the song's title in quotation marks, and italicize the names of albums and CDs. However, write it within the quotation marks if the song's title ends with an exclamation or question mark.

For More on How to Cite a Poem, Visit

Worried about how to quote a poem in an essay? Not anymore! The citation experts at know how to cite a poem in several citation styles. They are adequately skilled to teach you how to write a poetry essay and give you the tips to excel in academic writing.

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So, wait no more and wonder how to cite a poem. Instead, contact our citation specialists and learn how to cite a poet’s work in essays and other writings to enhance the quality of your book writing.

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