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MLA Citation Guide: Poetry

This guide shows you how to cite references in current (9th edition) MLA style

Poetry Taken from an Edited Collection

Author of Poem's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Poem." Title of Book: Subtitle if Any, edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, Edition if given and is not first, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of Publication, pp. Page Numbers of the Poem.

Works Cited List Example  

Donne, John. "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning." The Broadview Introduction to Literature: Poetry, edited by Lisa Chalykoff, Neta Gordon, and Paul Lumsden, Broadview Press, 2021, pp. 48-49.

In-Text Citation Example

(Author of Poem's Last Name, line(s) Line Number(s))

Example: (Donne, lines 26-28)

Note: If your quotation contains more than one line from the poem use forward slashes (/) between each line of the poem. For line breaks that occur between stanzas, use a double forward slash (//). 

Example

Using scientific imagery, Donne describes his connection to his wife, "As stiff compasses are two: /Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show / To move, but both, if th' other do" (lines 26-28).

Note: If citing more than 3 lines, follow the rules for a long quotation. 

 

For more information, see the Handbook's section 6.22, pp. 245-246.

Poetry Published on the Web

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Poem." Title of Website, Name of Organization Affiliated with the Website, Date of copyright or date last modified/updated, URL. 

Works Cited List Example  

Keats, John. "On the Grasshopper and Cricket." Poetry Foundation, 2020, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/53210/on-the-grasshopper-and-cricket. 

In-Text Citation Example

(Author of Poem's Last Name, line(s) Line Number(s))

Example: (Keats, lines 10-12)

Note: If your quotation contains more than one line from the poem use forward slashes (/) between each line of the poem. For line breaks that occur between stanzas, use a double forward slash (//). 

Example

Keats uses insects to represent the everlasting vitality of nature, "On a lone winter evening, when the frost / Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills / The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever" (lines 10-12).

Note: If citing more than 3 lines, follow the rules for a long quotation. 

In-Text Citation Rules for Poetry

Information included in poem

In-Text Citation Example

Poem includes line numbers

(Author of Poem's Last Name, line(s) Line Number(s))

Example: (Blake, lines 6-9)

Poem doesn't include line numbers

(Author of Poem's Last Name)

Example: (Chaucer)

Poem includes divisions (acts, scenes, cantos,

books, parts) and line numbers

(Author of Poem's Last Name Division Number. Line Number(s))

Example: (Pope 5.645-646)

Note: 5.645-646 refers to canto 5, lines 645-646 

 

For more information, see the Handbook's section 6.22, pp. 245-246.