How to Cite a Poem in Academic Paper Using MLA Style

How to Cite a Poem in Academic Paper Using MLA Style

Many students wonder how to cite a quote from the poem as the essay format has a great impact on the grade you get by the end of the term. Students may search for the proper paper example or find some tips.

Making a reference page and citing direct quotes from poem or prose is one of the most complicated steps in essay writing. To do it in a right way, a student has to know several academic writing styles as his five fingers:

These are the most frequently met paper formats used to cite poems and novels properly.

The next step is to select quotations that would best contribute to the entire work. It means that a student will have to pick only those quotes to cite that reflect the poem’s essence best of all. Finally, one has to mind that inserting too many citations may have a negative influence on the essay as high plagiarism index may result in “F.” It is better to go through a perfect example of paper dedicated to some poem once written by an expert and follow its structure. Keep in mind that your final draft has to contain at least 95-97% original text. Otherwise, students risk losing points instead of earning high grades.

Before submitting an assignment which contains any copy-pasted quotes, check your text with the help of effective online plagiarism tools. A great example might be Grammarly or SmartSEOTools. If you want your grammar or plagiarism checking tool to show the most accurate results, it is better to get paid versions.

When You Might Need to Cite a Poem

We have listed the most used writing styles so far. Students prefer MLA format as it is easy to cite applying this format. Despite MLA writing style can be called the simplest one, students still should study the general rules by heart as often they will be addressed essays to write in class.

They won’t be able to use writing manuals or poem’s text then. The poem is a separate literary genre which requires special citation and formatting rules. It has to be cited in a different way.

It might be crucial to cite a poetry line to support your arguments concerning the given piece as well as prove that you have read the text.

If you attend one of those humanitarian classes like Literature or Arts, you will most probably face many different types of writing homework assignments:

  1. Definition
  2. Descriptive
  3. Reflective
  4. Critique
  5. Critical thinking
  6. Argumentative
  7. Compare & contrast

In any of these essays, you may want to cite a poem or prose to support your point of view.

Why Should Students Cite Poems and Other Sources?

As a rule, the words of a student weigh nothing when compared to the words of world’s experts. Thus, you need to prove your opinion by inserting various citations of famous and reputable individuals. Besides, when you cite specific parts of one’s work, you prove that you have read the piece carefully. It shows your understanding of the studied material.

To cite poetry or any other source means to add direct words of other authors in your academic paper. You can either put direct quotes without changing a word from a poem’s line or use indirect quotations (sentences that contain both your own words and author’s interpretation).

Cite Poem Properly in MLA Style

MLA is considered the most frequently met school and college writing style among students and their teachers. It has a minimum of requirements, but still, you have to be careful when quoting.

Under the MLA paper format, a student must use quotations in different ways depending on the poem’s nature. The main differences depend on the length of the quotation. The basic rules are listed below.

  1. Brief poetry citations involve less than three lines taken from the original poem.
  2. People consider those quotes that have more than 3 lines of the poem long.

It is recommended to omit words that play no significant role to avoid both plagiarism and wordiness. So, there is no need to cite unnecessary parts of the poetry. In any case, the main purpose is stick to the point of the essay.

The Meaning of Poem’s Title

The methods used to cite poem’s title are different from the way you cite a line. The title appears on the first page of your essay – in your introduction paragraph. You need to start your discussion with mentioning the author, publishing year, and title.

From time to time, you may notice that quotation marks are used instead of italics, and vice versa. The volume of the poem matters when making a choice. When you cite a relatively short poem, recall an example:

  • “Doggy Heaven”
  • “When I’m Old”
  • “The Man in the Jar”
  • “Tinkle, Tinkle Little Car!”

Long poems’ titles have to be cited in italics. Use a good example:

  • Cryptogram Decoded
  • Insanity
  • The Powerfool and the Powerful

As you can see, short poems’ titles appear in quotation marks while any long poem’s title is written in italics.

General Rules of In-Text Citations from the Poetry

You need to know the anthology of your chosen literature as well as many other terms before you compose your essay on a particular poem. Put down the year, publisher, full author’s name, page number, and other details when you write an essay. It will save your time on developing References page later.

After conducting a research and looking through the collection of appropriate literature, you can write the paper by obeying these major rules of citing a poem in English language essay:

  • Use quotation marks with every direct quote from the selected poem.
  • Watch after your punctuation just as you watch after your grammar and formatting.
  • Brackets are not needed around ellipses.
  • When discussing a poem in your school or college essay, talk in the present tense.
  • Mention a page or specific line number (if known).
  • Locate punctuation after the parenthetical quotation.
  • Avoid multiple quotations. Use your own thoughts more.
  • All questions or exclamation marks should be enclosed inside the quotation marks. If it does not belong to the original writer’s words, put them outside.
  • Each citation from the poetry must be referenced in full at the end of the MLA paper. The page should be called Works Cited.
  • Here is a great example of how to add a few lines of a single poem: In "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," Frost says, “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep / But I have promises to keep / And miles to go before I sleep."
  • Don’t be ashamed to order online writing assistance if you feel too overloaded. The prices are affordable for all students.