How to Cite a Poem - Top Tips 2020

How to Cite a Poem - Top Tips 2020

When you're quoting a poem in your paper, it's important to cite it properly. For some people, it may seem difficult, but all you have to do is just follow specific rules thoroughly. Of course, not everyone has enough time to search for the main principles of citing. That's why we have created this detailed guide. Read it carefully and learn simple rules on how to cite a poem in MLA. 

Citing poetry in MLA: The Main Rules

If you want to quote a single line from the poem or just the part of the line, you just need to put it in quotation marks just like you always do with a usual quote from any book.

When you need to cite 2 or 3 lines from the poem, use a slash with spaces before and after to show the line breaks. After writing the quote, check out if you have used the same style and punctuation as in the original poem.


  • "One shade the more, one ray the less, / Had half impaired the nameless grace / Which waves in every raven tress" (Byron)

If between the poem's lines there is a stanza, you should put a double slash.


  • "How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. // And on that cheek, and o’er that brow, / So soft, so calm, yet eloquent" (Byron)

When you have to cite more than 3 lines, you should use a block quote. You need to write the quote on a new line, without quotation marks and marking the line breaks.


One shade the more, one ray the less, 

Had half impaired the nameless grace 

Which waves in every raven tress, 

Or softly lightens o’er her face; 

Where thoughts serenely sweet express, 

How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. 

It's very important to keep the format of your quote similar to a poem. Make sure you have reproduced even unusual punctuation as in the original.

How to Make In-Text Poem Citations

If you need to quote a poem, you have to write the last name of the poet clearly for your readers to find the source fast. When you're quoting more than the one poem written by the same author, please make sure you have mentioned the poem's title. 

As usual, you write the title of the poem and the writer's name just in the text of your paper when you introduce your quote. If there are some ambiguities about the poem you're citing, write the poet's name and the poem's title as a parenthetical citation. It should be placed after the quote.

Sometimes, there are numbers for line poems. If you need to quote a poem with these numbers, you have to duplicate them in your citation to show the quote location. You can place the word "lines" in the quote.


  • "Child of the clouds! remote from every taint / Of sordid industry thy lot is cast” (Wordsworth, lines 1-2)

Of course, you don't have the lines if they do not have numbers. If the poem is written on many pages, place the page number instead of line numbers.


  • The daisy follows soft the sun, / And when his golden walk is done, / Sits shyly at his feet. (Frost 120)

If you access a poem online and there are no page and line numbers, then you have to put only the poet's last name.


  • That when I could not find it / I sat me down to sigh. (Dickinson)

In a case, if you have already written the author's name and the title of the poem, and it doesn't have page or line numbers, then you don't have to include a parenthetical citation in your writing.

Rules for Citing Poems from Various Sources

AS we already have mentioned, you have to start your quote with the author's name and the poem's title written in quotation marks. Then you have to add the details on when this poem was published. Follow the next rules to quote the poem in MLA correctly:

Citing a Poem from a Book

If you're citing a poem from the book with the poet's work, write the title of the book in italics, and add the publisher, the year of publishing, and the page number where this poem appears.


  • Peter, Novak. “Winter.” Snowy poems, New Generation, 2010, p. 10.

Citing a Poem from an Anthology

If you're quoting a poem from an edited book, keep the same format as we showed above and include the editors' names.


  • Rassel, Smith. "New life." The Book of English Poetry, edited by Malcolm Bitter and David Frown, English Books, 2005, p. 190.

Citing a Poem from a Website

If you need to cite a poem published online, you need to write the author's name and the URL of the Internet page. Add the publication date of the website and the date when you have accessed the poem. It's also possible to write the year of the original publication after the title.


  • Lord, Byron. "The Giaour." Poets,, 2009. Accessed 23 September 2020.

Getting Help With Citing a Poem

Of course, you can meet some difficulties with poems' citing and this is normal. But if you experience serious problems, it's better to ask experts to assist. Without doubts, a good professional can do this work fast and clean. If you want to save your time and get a successful paper with proper citations, contact our friendly team. Our best specialists can help you immediately! Receive the completed document on time without any delays. We promise you will save money with us because our company sets low prices and offers discounts and special offers from customers.