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How to Cite a Poem

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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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