How to Cite a Poem - Best Guide for all Formats

How to Cite a Poem


How to Cite a Poem

Are you studying literature, and do you need to cite a poem? Are you wondering how to cite a poem in your essay or research paper? No worries, we got you. Our experts are on standby to handle this task for you. They are aware of all formatting guidelines to apply in various subjects. Therefore, if you are stranded on how to cite a poem in your assignment, contact us and enjoy our exemplary services.

This article presents various ways of citing a poem in your academic papers. We will discuss all the detailed procedures in various referencing styles. Be sure to learn and acquire valuable citing skills.

What is Citation?

Citation is a way of informing your audience that a particular piece of information is from another author. This technique is beneficial in all academic papers and other content. You use citations when you want to emphasize a particular concept, for instance, using statistics. For example, discussing the spread of a certain disease, you may use data to show how the epidemic has spread.

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Citations also provide more information for your readers, especially when discussing something complex. When writing, you encounter a complex concept that you can't expound on in your paper; it's best to refer your readers to another source for further details.

Citation also prevents plagiarism by using someone else work as per the guidelines. Therefore, its best to cite when;

  • Using words, thoughts, ideas, or someone else concepts
  • Using direct quotes
  • You paraphrase
  • You reference another source
  • Another author's ideas, thoughts, or words have influenced your writing research

Do you want to learn how to cite in a research paper? Consider reading our how to write a college research proposal article.

Which are the Various Ways of Citing a Poem?

There are several ways you can use to cite a poem when doing research. These methods are grouped according to the poem's source and referencing formats. The citing methods that we are going to discuss are as follows;

Referencing Styles

  1. Citing a poem in MLA
  2. Citing a poem in APA
  3. Citing a poem in Chicago
  4. Citing a poem in Harvard

Sources of the Poem

  1. How to cite a poem from an online source or website
  2. Citing a poem from a book
  3. Citing a poem from Anthology

What Do You Need to Cite a Poem?

When carrying out your research, you may find a poem that connects with your discussion. Before you think of how to cite it, ensure you gather the following details;

  • Poet's first and last name
  • Line, page number, or page range when using several lines on different pages
  • Poem title
  • Poem's publication year
  • Name of the publication company
  • URL if the poem is from an online source or website
  • Editor's first and last name

How to Cite a Poem in MLA (Modern Language Association)

You may encounter a poem you want to cite for your research proposal, essay, or even a term paper. The following procedure will help you cite your poem using the MLA format. Each procedure aligns with the source of the poem, whether online, from a book, etc.

Citing a Poem from an Online Source in MLA

 These instructions should contain the following details;

  • Always start your citation with the poet's last name, followed by the first name. Use a comma to separate the names, capitalize the first letter of the names, and then put a period after the first name.
  • Next, write the poem title with quotation marks, including a full stop after the title, and it should be within quotation marks. The poem's title should be in title case; that is, capitalize the first letter of every word.
  • The third part is the publication year of the poem. Find out the poem's original publication year followed by a period.
  • The other part is the website title if it's from an online source. Write the website in italics and title case, then put a comma at the end.
  • Write the website publisher's name in standard font and title case, followed by a comma.
  • Write the URL or the source without the "https://" and then a period.
  • Finally, remember to write the phrase Accessed and the date you searched the web source.

Example: Angelou, Maya."Still I Rise." Digital Home,3 Jan.2003, Accessed 24 Jan. 2023

How to Cite a Poem from a Book in MLA

Citing a poem from a book differs from a website or online source. The citation procedure is as follows;

Poet's Last Name, First Name. "Title of the Poem." Title of the Book, Name of Publishing Company, Year of publication, page number or page range.

  • Indicate the author's name starting with the last and then the first. Separate the names with a comma and then after the first name.
  • Write the poem's title in quotations. Use title case and put a full stop at the end within the quotations.
  • Indicate the publisher's name, year of publication, and page number (where you got the lines or words you have quoted).


Duben, Lee. "Passage Rites." The Guide to Contemporary Issues, edited by Rose Gee and Gladwell Mahony, Guide Books, 2001, pp. 160-61.

How to Cite an Epic Poem in MLA

An epic poem is a lengthy narrative of poetry. Epic poems mostly describe the extraordinary adventures of characters in the past. If you want to cite this poem, then apply the following instructions;

Last name, First name. Poem Title. Publication City for Books before 1900: Publisher, year of publication.

Example: Carey, Nelson. Beowulf. Branden Publishing Company, 196

How to Cite a Poem from Anthology

What is an anthology? Anthology means a collection of poems or other literary pieces like music. When citing from a collection of poems, you should use this format.

Poet's Last Name, First Name. "Title of the Poem." Title of Anthology, edited by Editor's First and Last Name, edition (if applicable), volume (if applicable), Publisher, year of anthology publication, page number or page range.

In-text Citation

In-text citations are the same for MLA, no matter the poem's source. To do in-text citations, you require the poet's last name, the line numbers, or the poem's page.

The format should be as follows;

(Poet’s Last Name, line(s) #-#)

NB: If you cite the author's name within the sentence, let the line numbers be in parentheses. If the poem has no line numbers, don't count them; use the page number.

Direct Quotation

When quoting a poem, you use quotation marks. There are two instances of direct quotations:

  • Three lines of poetry - use a quotation and a slash symbol when quoting any partial line up to three lines in a poem. The slash should separate the lines of a poem. Remember you should quote the text and then indicate the in-text citation at the end, outside the quotation marks.

Example; "It was the begging of misery, and I – / Just two years into the contract/ Life was not the same" (Huggies, lines 18-20).

  • Four lines of poem or more - you should quote the poem in its original format without quotations or slashes. Use a colon at the end of your statement before quoting the poem, and place the in-text citation at the end of the direct quotation. Remember to use a semi-colon before adding the in-text citation.

Citing a Poem in APA (American Psychology Association)

For in-text citations, APA uses the poet's name and the publication date of the source you are using. Remember to use quotation marks for short quotes that are 40 words or less. For example;

"Oh, my Motherland, I miss you "( Alexander, 2003,p.14)

Apply the slash symbol if you have line breaks in a short quote. You don't need quotation marks when quoting longer phrases in block citations or direct quotations. The block citation should start from a new line. The citation should be indented at around 1.3 cm from the left margin.

I opened the door; something was amiss

The weather was different today

I felt like freezing; my favorite hood couldn't protect me

The snow was a few inches deep


I need something warmer, or else I will experience asthmatic attacks,

Before I could get inside, my phone rang

I had an appointment with a client

I picked it just for her to reschedule the meeting

Use this template to cite this quote if it's from a book.

Poets last name, First Initial. (Year). Poem Title. In Editor Initial. Last name (Ed.), Book title (pp. xx-xx). Location: Publisher

If from a website, it should appear as this;

Poets last name, First Initial. (Year, Month Day). Poem Title. Retrieved from


Donaldson, J. ( 2015, 0410). I opened a Book. Retrieved from

Citing a Poem in Chicago

When citing a poem in Chicago, you will encounter the following scenarios;

· Citing Poem from an Edited Book

 A poem from an edited book like Anthology should have the following footnote format;

Author name, "Title of Poem," in Book, ed. Editor name: (City: Publisher, year of publication), page number(s).

· Citing a Poem from a Website

Ensure you use this format in the footnote for a poem from a website.

Author name, "Title of poem," Publishing organization or name of the website, publication/ last modified/ accessed date, URL

· Direct Quotation

When quoting a poem, you should put line numbers after the page numbers when citing.

For example;

Frank O'Hara, "Emotional Trauma in an Emergency," in The Poetry of Crisis, ed. Donald Allen (Albania: University of Albania Press, 1995), 197–198, lines 14–15.

Citing a Poem in Harvard

In Harvard style,  you should refer to the poet's name and title when writing. Later you should include a citation to the anthology where it appears in the reference.

Surname, Initial(s).ed.Year. Title. Edition ( if it's not the first one). Place of Publication: Publisher

E.g.,Walter, M., Saleen, M.J. and Steward, J. eds. 2005. The poetry. 5th ed. London: W.W. Norton.

For in-text citations, the author's date format. (Author, date) or (Author, date, page no.)

For instance, Time has come ( Ferguson et al., 2005, p. 1835)

Quoting a single line in a poem applies other quotation rules for any other source. It will help if you write it as follows; 

Walter (2005, line 7) Writes…."….".)

So, are you searching for accurate ways to cite a poem in your assignment? Have you tried, but it's still overwhelming for you? Instead of using a poem citation generator, seek our professional help. Our experts will offer more services like proofreading your content, formatting, and even writing for you from scratch. You can also get more formatting tips from our article on how to format an essay.

Which are the Best Tips to Apply When Citing a Poem?

When you apply the correct formula in citing a poem, it becomes valuable for your readers. The purpose of citing will be achieved, and you will have quality work. To ensure you cite correctly, here are the best tips and tricks you can apply;

  • Be keen to read the whole poem and understand the author's message. Then, choose the lines you feel are worth quoting in your content.
  • Explain in your content why you have chosen the lines and their relationship to your message
  • Use minimal citations in your work to avoid too many quotations. Ensure you rely more on your words to sound original to your audience.
  • Use embedded quotations in your work. You can insert them naturally in a statement's beginning, middle, and end.
  • Always proofread your quotes and format them as per the guidelines above.

In a Nut Shell

Poem citations apply mainly in literature or language essays. This guide shows various ways of citing a poem in your content, depending on your referencing format. Always be sure to refer to the basic guidelines of the referencing method to remind yourself of their rules before you start citing.

You can also contact us if you get stuck; we are always available to serve you. Again, you can still place an order for our cheapest custom research papers.

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