How to Cite a Poem in MLA

As a student, there will be a time when you have to mention in your work the texts of another author. And the most commonly used style is the MLA format. However, there are certain rules and guidelines to follow. Citing another author’s work in your essay requires great skills. But first, you must learn how to cite a poem in MLA format.

As a matter of fact, MLA format is simple and easy to use. However, it is essential that you have a perfect understanding of how to quote other people’s word, particularly when writing a poem. Basically, there is little or no similarity between prose and a poem. And as such, they do not have the same rules of MLA writing style.

Why Reference a Poem

As a student, it is best to know the essence of quoting verses properly in poetry. Citing quotes in your writing is an indication that you have looked through and understand the narrative There are several ways through which one can master the skills on how to cite a poem in text MLA. Using the most appropriate method depends on varying factors - one of which is the length of the literary piece.

Keep in mind that short mentions from literary pieces include no more than three lines while longer quotations, on the other hand, must not be less than four lines. Remember to use only the most relevant texts when inserting citations in MLA format. This is an art that must be mastered.

Proper MLA Title Format

As a matter of fact, it is important that you learn how to cite a poem from a book in MLA properly. There are instances where you come across titles that are italicized rather than the common inverted commas. But the main question is, which is the most appropriate MLA title format? Well, it depends on how long of the story is.

Shorter poems can be cited this way

  • “Love Never Dies”
  • “The Blossoming Flower”
  • “Our Mother”

And for longer poems, they are cited using italics

  • The Beauty and the Beast
  • The End is Near
  • The Mirror on the Wall

Just as you’ve noticed inverted commas are used to cite a short literary piece while longer poems are cited using italics

Tips on Citing A Poem Properly in MLA Format

Referencing a poem is one of the simplest tasks as far as writing is concerned. Plus, it is not time-consuming. Here are a few guidelines on how to cite a poem in a book MLA format

  1. Quoting from a literary piece, no matter the number of lines requires that you add inverted commas around each citation. Use parenthesis to indicate that you’re using the exact texts as found in the poem. Then either the comma or full stop comes afterward. The number written after the quoted texts must align perfectly just as it is in the poem.

“I wish you could love me the way I am” (12).

  1. If you are quoting a few consecutive lines in a particular literary piece, use the virgule (/). By doing this, readers will be able to tell where each line breaks up. Here is an example

“Of all the things that happened there/ I could only but recall her face” (4 – 5).

Using the parenthesis, write the author’s name using this format – last name, first name and middle initials

Walter, John D.

  1. Use long quotations for verses that extends over 4 lines. In this case, you don’t have to use the inverted commas. Begin to quote on a fresh line, and indent the entire quote about ten spaces from the left margin. It is recommended that each quotation is double-spaced. Furthermore, write the lines word for word just as they appear in the poem. Do not make any alterations.

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