How to Cite a Poem in a Research Paper

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The guidelines for citations in academic papers are precise, and poems have their own set of details to include in a works cited section. The rules for citing poems are different depending on whether you are using the Modern Language Association, the American Psychological Association or the Chicago Manual of Style's guidelines. Since neither APA nor the Chicago Manual has specific instructions for citing poems, you should use the instructions for the source that most closely resembles yours.

MLA Style

  • Cite a poem in an anthology with multiple authors as follows: Author. "Title of Poem." Title of Anthology. Ed. Editor. Publication Location: Publisher, Date. Pages. Medium. For example: Sachs, Nelly. "Someone." Women in Praise of the Sacred. Ed.Jane Hirshfield. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. 220. Print.

  • Cite a poem in an anthology compiled by the author in the following format: Author. "Title of Poem." Title of Anthology. Publication Location: Publisher, Date. Pages. Medium. For example: Kay, Guy Gavriel. "Tintagel." Beyond This Dark House. Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2003. 23. Print.

  • Cite a poem from an online source as: Author. "Poem Title." Website. Organization or Publisher Managing the Site, Date Poem Was Written or Posted. Date You Visited the Site. Omit any information you do not have. Do not include a URL. For example: Yeats, William Butler. "When You Are Old." Poetry-Online.org. May 7, 2011.

  • Cite a poem in text by adding the section of the poem -- if it has multiple sections -- and the line numbers in parentheses, as follows: "In 'Tintagel,' Guy Gavriel Kay writes about 'the high, white awesome spray' by the castle (1.20)."

APA Style

  • Cite a poem from an anthology like this: Author. (Year). Poem title. In Editor (Ed.), Book title (pages). Location of Publication: Publisher.

    For example: Sachs, N. (1994). Someone. In J. Hirshfield (Ed.) Women in praise of the sacred (220). New York, NY: HarperCollins.

  • Cite a poem in an anthology compiled by the author like this: Author. (Year). Poem title. In Book title (Pages). Location of Publication: Publisher.

    For example: Kay, G. G. (2003). Tintagel. In Beyond this dark house (23). Toronto, Ontario: Penguin Canada.

  • Cite a poem from an online source like this: Author. (n.d.) Poem title. Available from URL.

    The "n.d." stands for "no date."

    For example: Yeats, W.B. (n.d.) When You Are Old. Available from http://www.poetry-online.org/yeats_when_you_are_old.htm.

  • Cite a poem in the text by including a page number, line number or date in parentheses after you refer to the poem. APA does not have specific guidelines for poetry citations in-text, so use what you have.

Chicago Manual of Style

  • Cite a poem in an anthology like this: Author. "Poem Title." In Anthology Title, edited by Editor, Pages. Location: Publisher, Year.

    For example: Sachs, Nelly. "Someone." In Women in Praise of the Sacred, edited by Jane Hirshfield, 220. New York: HarperCollins, 1994.

  • Cite a poem in an anthology compiled by the author like this: Author. "Poem Title." In Anthology Title, Pages. Location: Publisher, Year.

    For example: Kay, Guy Gavriel. "Tintagel." In Beyond This Dark House, 23. Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2003.

  • Ask your professor or superior how he wants you to cite poetry from online sources in Chicago style. The Chicago Manual of Style does not have guidelines for this.

Tips & Warnings

  • In MLA and Chicago styles, anthology and book titles should be italicized. Poem titles should not.
  • In APA style, nothing should be italicized, and neither poem nor book titles should be in title case. Capitalize the first letter of the first word and of any proper nouns, and leave the remaining letters lowercase.

References

  • Photo Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images
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