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How to Cite a Poem

2.6
(17)

“  See revolving the globe,
The ancestor-continents away group’d together,
The present and future continents north and south, with the isthmus
between.

See, vast trackless spaces,
As in a dream they change, they swiftly fill,
Countless masses debouch upon them,
They are now cover’d with the foremost people, arts, institutions, known.

See, projected through time,
For me an audience interminable. ”

Excerpt From: Walt Whitman. “Leaves of Grass.” Apple Books.

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Roses are red, violets are blue, trying to cite a poem someone gave to you? If so, you’re in luck, because we’re here to explain how to cite a poem!

While it may seem tricky to cite a poem, it’s pretty much the same as citing any type of writing. Many poems are found in anthologies or published collections of works. We’ll provide instructions for citing your poem found in an anthology, not only in MLA format but also in APA and Chicago formats too!

For this example, we’re using a poem found in an anthology called Love Poems, which is available on Google Books. To access the source yourself, use the information found in the citation examples below.

To cite a poem from an anthology, you’ll need to locate the following pieces of information:

  1. Name of the individual who wrote the poem
  2. Title of the poem
  3. Title of the book or anthology
  4. Name of the individual who edited or compiled the anthology
  5. Version of the anthology (for example, the edition)
  6. Publisher of the anthology
  7. Location of the publisher
  8. Date the anthology was published
  9. Page or page range the poem is on (for print sources)
  10. Name of the website the anthology is on (for online sources)
  11. URL or DOI (for online sources)

Use the following structure to cite a poem in an anthology in MLA citation style:

Print source:

Last name, First name (of the individual who wrote the poem). “Title of the Poem.” Title of the Anthology, First name Last name of Editor, editor’s title (if applicable), version (only include if it’s clearly labeled as a specific edition or version), Publisher, Date the anthology was published, page or page range (if applicable).

Online source:

Last name, First name (of the individual who wrote the poem). “Title of the Poem.” Title of the Anthology, First name Last name of Editor, editor’s title (if applicable), version (only include if it’s clearly labeled as a specific edition or version), Publisher, Date the anthology was published, Name of the Website or Database the anthology is on, URL or DOI.

Here’s how the above example would be cited in MLA 9:

Print source:

Graves, Robert. “Symptoms of Love.” Love Poems, Peter Washington, general editor, Everyman’s Library, 1993, p. 18.

Online source:

Graves, Robert. “Symptoms of Love.” Love Poems, Peter Washington, general editor, Everyman’s Library, 1993, Google Books, https://books.google.com/books?id=kE-c58Jubj4C&lpg=PP1&dq=love%20poems&pg=PA5#v=onepage&q=love%20poems&f=false.

If you need help with in-text and parenthetical citations, CitationMachine.net, can help. Our MLA citation generator is simple and easy to use!

Use the following structure to cite a poem in an anthology in APA style:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. of the individual who wrote the poem. (Year the anthology was published). Title of the poem. In First initial. Middle initial. Last name of Editor (Ed.), Title of anthology (p. for page or pp. for page range). URL

Here’s how the above example would be cited in APA:

Graves, R. (1993). Symptoms of love. In P. Washington (Ed.), Love poems (p. 18). https://books.google.com/books?id=kE-c58Jubj4C&lpg=PP1&dq=love%20poems&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=love%20poems&f=false

For more information, visit our APA reference page.

Use the following structure to cite a poem in an anthology in Chicago style:

Last name, First name, Middle initial. of the individual who wrote the poem. “Title of the Poem.” In Title of the Anthology, edited by First name Middle initial. Last name, page or page range. Location of the publisher: Publisher, Year published. URL.

Here’s how the above example would be cited in Chicago:

Graves, Robert. “Symptoms of Love.” In Love Poems, edited by Peter Washington, 18. New York: Everyman’s Library, 1993. https://books.google.com/books?id=kE-c58Jubj4C&lpg=PP1&dq=love%20poems&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=love%20poems&f=false.


A completed citation is a good start. If you need to go beyond this and create a Chicago style in text citation (footnotes and endnotes), a parenthetical citation example in MLA or APA, a citation for another source type, or need basic citing help, try Citation Machine.

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How do I cite a poem found in an anthology in APA style?

To cite a poem found in an anthology on an APA-style reference list, include the name of the poet, the anthology publication date, the name of the poem, the name of the compiler (e.g., editor), the name of the anthology, the page number(s), the publisher’s name, a DOI/URL (if applicable), and for poems that have been published elsewhere before appearing in the anthology, also include an original publication date. To write an APA-style in-text citation for a poem, include the surname of the poet, the poem’s original publication date (if applicable), and the anthology’s publication date.

In-text citation

Following are the templates and examples for writing an APA-style in-text citation for a poem in an anthology, both with and without an original publication date.

Template

One date:

(Surname of the poet, Publication Year)

Republished and original dates:

(Surname of the poet, Original Publication Year/Anthology Publication Year)

Example

(Kim, 2016)

(Kim, 1965/2016)

Reference-list entry

Following are the templates and examples for citing a poem found in an anthology in APA style.

Template

One date:

Surname, F. M. (Publication Year). Title of the poem. In F. Editor (Ed.)., Title of the anthology (pp. #–#). Publisher.

Republished and original dates:

Surname, F. M. (Publication Year). Title of the poem. In F. Editor (Ed.)., Title of the anthology (pp. #–#). Publisher. DOI/URL (Original work published Year)

Example

One date:

Kim, S. J. (2016). The beggar in America. In W. A. Kibbedi (Ed.), Love, love alone: A poetry collection (pp. 7-8). Uganda Christian University.

Republished and original dates:

Kim, S.J. (2016). The beggar in America. In W.A. Kibbedi (Ed.), Love, love alone: A poetry collection (pp. 7-8). Uganda Christian University. (Original work published 1965)

How do I format a Chicago (notes-bibliography) style citation for a direct quote from a poem?

Single line of poetry

Cite the quote as you would cite a normal quotation. In the footnote, be sure to indicate the quotation’s location in the source.

Aside from page number, classic poetry can sometimes be organized by book (bk.), canto, stanza (st.), lines, fragment (frag.), etc. Include these location numbers if it makes sense. The example below has a page number (page 26). Other examples in this FAQ use books and lines.

Note and footnote template:

Example sentence, “Quotation goes here.” 1

———-

  1. Author First M. Surname, Title of the Book (Publisher location: Publisher Name, year of publication), quotation location.

Note and footnote example:

Gorman instills both sadness and hope: “We will raise this wounded world into a wonderous one.” 1

———-

  1. Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb (New York: Viking Books, 2021), 26.

Bibliography entry template and example:

Author Surname, First M. Title of the Book. Location: Publisher Name, year of Publication.

Gorman, Amanda. The Hill We Climb. New York: Viking Books, 2021.


Two or more lines, of poetry

If quoting two or more lines of poetry, you may format the quote as a block quote OR as a run-in quotation.

BLOCK QUOTE

Here’s how to format a block quote:

  • No quotation marks are needed
  • Left-aligned text indented 0.5 inches from the left
  • A single line before and after the quotation

Note and footnote template:

Quotation line one goes here.

Line 2 goes here. (Each line goes on its own line.)

Last line goes here. 1

———-

  1. Author First M. Surname, Title of the Book (Publisher location: Publisher Name, year of publication), quotation location.

*NOTE: If a line of the poem is too long to fit on a single line, the text that runs to the second line should have a hanging indent.

Note and footnote example:

Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
Vain Warr with Heav’n, and by success untaught
His proud imaginations thus displaid. 1

———-

  1. John Milton, Paradise Lost (Salt Lake City: Project Gutenberg, 2017), bk. 2, lines 7-10.

Bibliography entry template and example:

Author Surname, First M. Title of the Book. Location: Publisher Name, year of publication.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Salt Lake City: Project Gutenberg, 2017. Epub.

RUN-IN QUOTATION

If you are writing in a narrative form and want to save line space, then use the poet’s name in the sentence and explain the lines, followed by the quoted lines from the poem. Add the note number at the end of the sentence.

Use forward slashes with one space on either side ( / ) to show line breaks in the original poem. In case there is a break between stanzas, use a double slash with a single space on either side ( // ) instead of a single slash.

Note and footnote example:

Milton uses light to express his sight in, “When I consider how my light is spent / Ere half my days in this dark world and wide.” 1

———-

  1. John Milton, Paradise Lost (Salt Lake City: Project Gutenberg, 2017), bk. 2, lines 7-10.

Bibliography entry template and example:

Author Surname, First M. Title of the Book. Location: Publisher Name, year of publication.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Salt Lake City: Project Gutenberg, 2017. Epub.


Two or more stanzas of poetry

  • No quotation marks are needed
  • Left-aligned text
  • No indent
  • Add a line before and after each stanza

Note and footnote template:

Quotation stanza one. (Each line goes on its own line.)

Quotation stanza two.

Last stanza. 1

———-

  1. Author First M. Surname, Title of the Book (Publisher location: Publisher Name, year of publication), quotation location.

Note and footnote example:

———-

  1. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (Salt Lake City: Project Gutenberg, 1998), bk. 2, lines 23-31.

Bibliography entry template and example:

Author Surname, First M. Title of the Book. Location: Publisher Name, year of publication.

Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass. Salt Lake City: Project Gutenberg, 1998. Epub.