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When writing an academic paper or assignment, you get frequently instructed to conduct research into various topics and present facts and arguments that go beyond the scope of delivering information. To keep up with the research, you may need to look for material in several places, such as prose, poems, articles, newspapers, and so on. Now, there are times when you need to cite a poem to follow up the paper. Here, often students face issues in citing poem lines. If you are one of them and wondering— ‘How to cite a poem?’ then you are at the right place.

You must be seeking to learn more about the usage of quotation marks, line numbers, poem’s title, etc. Don’t worry. The blog will give you complete guidance on it, isn’t it great! 

So, here is the content list of what you will find in this blog. Follow it and clear all your queries.

  • Why do students need to cite a poem in their content?
  • What do you need to follow poem quotes in a text citation?
  • Name the different referencing styles in-text citation of a poem.
  • What is the way to cite a poem in MLA style?
  • How can you cite a Poem in APA Style?
  • How to cite a poem in Harvard format?
  • What are the tricks you should follow while citing a poem?

So, now let’s start discovering the answer.

Why Do Students Need To Cite A Poem In Their Content?

Why Do Students Need To Cite A Poem In Their Content?

For better presentation and collection of references, many academic subjects or essays need students to cite poems. It’s because poetry is often regarded as the most popular source of information and wisdom. According to experts, poems are a rich source of knowledge that may get used in a range of academic subjects. But, did you know that using emotive language in poems can help as well? Get a complete view.

We can claim that poem citation can give your piece of writing authenticity. And, that is the reason students must acquire knowledge on citing a poem title or line in their academic write-up. But, of course, you must look into the poetry foundation before usage.

What Do You Need To Follow Poem Quotes In-Text Citations?

If you are willing to cite poem lines in your academic writing, it is necessary to conduct thorough research and gather information on your topic. It is not that hard to use two or three lines as a poem citation.

How to Analyse Poem?

Here are some resources that you need to collect for citing a poem—

  • Poets name.
  • Title of the poem.
  • Poems line number.
  • Years of publication of the poem. If a poem found online then the year the poem got published.
  • Name of the poem’s publisher or website publisher.
  • URL link of the epic poem if you can’t provide the poem’s page numbers.

It is a fact that you can find the poem from multiple sources. Once you collect the mentioned resources all you have to learn is the method of citation.

You might be wondering how to keep line breaks in-text citation. Also, there is a method of using double slash or double quotation marks for line or stanza break of a poem.

No doubt, you will know more about it. Before that, you must figure out the different referencing styles for the parenthetical citation. In addition to understanding these citation nuances, it’s also beneficial to explore other literary devices used in poetry. For instance, have you ever wondered, ‘What Is Alliteration?‘ This stylistic device is essential in poetry and prose, enhancing rhythm and mood. Discover more about alliteration and its impact on literary works by exploring further.”

Moreover, follow the blog here to know more about Emotive Language.

What Are The Different Referencing Styles In-Text Citation Of A Poem?

You will be happy to learn that several styles are there to cite a poem in your content. You can use any citation format to make your academic paper authentic.

At first, let’s learn the styles of the type and then will know more about it with examples.

MLA (Modern Language Association).
APA (American Psychological Association).

So, after you have learned about the types of citing a poem, let’s discover the types in detail. Here comes first the MLA handbook format.

Also, read 200+ research paper topics.

What Is The Way To Cite A Poem In MLA Format?

What Is The Way To Cite A Poem In MLA Format?

When quoting poetry, make sure the quotation is correctly formatted to guide the reader to the relevant source item. Simply place quotation marks around a single line of a poem (or a portion of a line) as you would any other quote. There are several unique formatting requirements for multiple-line quotes.

Follow here to understand the basic guidelines.

2-3 lines—

Use a forward slash with a space before and after to mark the line breaks while using more than three lines for citation. And, use double slash when you try to imply stanza break. Also, put the line in the inverted comma. Meanwhile, always remember to keep the same punctuation, such as commas, semicolons, etc., as it was in the original poem.

Example with line breaks—-

Robert Frost said that “And be one traveler, long I stood / And looked down one as far as I could / To where it bent in the undergrowth;”

Example with stanza break—- 

Robert Frost said, “I doubted if I should ever come back. // I shall be telling this with a sigh / Somewhere ages and ages hence:” 

More than three lines—-

Set off a block quote if you’re quoting four or more lines of poetry. Try to use an introductory sentence that ends with a colon. Following that, start the quotation on a new line. And, here you do not have to give quotation marks.

Example with a block quotation—-

Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem starts with a lot of expectations:

Give to me the life I love,

Let the lave go by me,

Give the jolly heaven above

And the byway nigh me.

Besides these, always mention the poet or author surname and title name in the main text when you introduce the quote in the MLA poem in-text citation. In addition, line numbers are sometimes get included in the margins of poetry. Use the line and page number from your in-text citation to find the quote. Also explore effective tips on how to write a claim.

How Can You Cite A Poem In APA Style?

It is another common style that contains aspects that differ from MLA formatting. When citing a poem in APA style, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • When quoting short poetry, always use quotation marks.
  • To set off the quote, there is no need to start a new line in your essay.
  • You must include the line breaks if you wish to reference more than one line of the poem.
  • Use the forward-slash between the lines.

Example with short quote—-

In his poem Vagabond, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: “Let the blow fall soon or late, / Let what will be o’er me; / Give the face of earth around / And the road before me.”

How Can You Cite A Poem In APA Style?

Example with long quote—-

Here is how Robert Louis Stevenson describes his only desire:

Give the face of earth around,

And the road before me.

Wealth I ask not, hope nor love,

Nor a friend to know me;

All I ask, the heaven above

And the road below me.

Here, you must know that if you’re using a quote from a book, include a detailed citation to the source in the Works Cited page (APA style) using the following template: Last name and initials of the poet. (Year). The title of the poem.

Example— Stevenson R L (1895) Vagabond.

How To Cite A Poem In Harvard Format?

How To Cite A Poem In Harvard Format

Parenthetical author-date referencing is sometimes known as ‘Harvard referencing.’ It might sound complicated, but it just implies citing sources by including the author’s name and the year of publication in brackets. 

Example with one line—-

If you’re quoting a line from a poem for presentation purposes, you’d quote it like you would any other source:

Robert Frost (1916, line 8) writes, “Because it was grassy and wanted wear;”

Example with 2 or 3 lines—-

The poem starts, “Then took the other, as just as fair, / And having perhaps the better claim, / Because it was grassy and wanted wear;” ( Robert Frost, 1916, lines 6-8).

Example with a stanza—-

For a long para or stanza, format the poetry as it appears in the source:

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves, no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

In the final stanza, Robert Frost (1916, lines- 16-20) writes.

What Are The Tricks You Should Follow While Citing A Poem?

What Are The Tricks You Should Follow While Citing A Poem?

Here are a few tricks on how to correctly structure poetry quotes.

  • Read the whole poem to ensure that you comprehend the citation’s significance and the author’s message.
  • Explain why you selected the lines from your poetry and how they relate to your academic writing.
  • Use citations carefully in your writing.
  • If you only require a few lines at the beginning and conclusion of the poetry, there’s no need to quote the full poem. Use ellipses to indicate that you can skip words, use ellipses.
  • Review your essay and double-check your referenced quotes for suitable language and layout.


Using quotations to establish the validity of your article is a powerful tactic to explore. It can assist you in proving that you comprehended the writers’ intent. Furthermore, using quotations in your work will make it appear more insightful and intriguing to your readers. Hopefully, the write-up has helped you understand how to reference poetry in an essay. 

But, it is okay if you still find it difficult to cite a poem in your essay. You can get rid of it as there is a solution for it. Yes, you are thinking right. Hire an expert to do your writing. The expert will assist you in producing a high-quality paper with properly mentioned sources.

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Frequently Asked Questions



Why citing a poem is important for students?

Many academic topics and research papers require students to quote a poem for better presentation and accumulation of sources. In such scenarios, students need to cite the poem according to the citation guidelines given to them.

Can I add a poem to my research paper?

If you are assigned an essay about poetry or a related topic to illustrate points regarding poems, you must cite the poem in the right way. There are many ways to cite a poem in your paper. Follow the guidelines given by your professors for citing poems.

Can I start an essay with a poem?

You may start with a line or two from the poem if you are writing or assigned an essay about poetry. However, ensure you refer to the lines at some point in the essay. Another option is to write an interesting statement about the poem’s place in culture or history.

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Alester Cook