MLA Citation Guide: How to cite a poem
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MLA Citation Guide: How to cite a poem

If you are a college student you must know the importance of citations and references. There is absolutely no assignment, in which you don’t have to cite the paper. The reason behind it is the strict educational requirements regarding prohibition of plagiarism and original data. If a student is caught copying data of any other researcher, there are severe repercussions that come down their way. It is nothing less than theft and if you are not referencing the original researcher, you will be considered to steal the data. Therefore, no matter what type of assignment you are writing and from which type of paper you are taking help, always make sure to reference the source.

Now, when it comes to references and citations, there is not just one way to do it. First, there are several different referencing styles and second, for every type of paper, the style is different in each format mostly. The most common referencing formats are APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago, and Oxford. Now, to reference a research paper in MLA style would be different than in APA style and so on. Similarly, to cite a news article is entirely different from the research essay referencing and then further variations depending on the format.

If you are on this blog, you must be looking for the citation guide regarding citing a poem. Sometimes there are assignments that require information from poems for different reasons and you have to cite them as well. If you are assigned with any such assignment, the following is a proper guide to reference any poem in MLA style.

Important points to keep in mind

When you are citing a poem in MLA style following are the main points you need to remember thoroughly.

  • When you are taking any short quotations from a poem, it cannot exceed from three lines.
  • When you are taking any long quotations from a poem, it has to be more than 3 lines.

Keep in mind that while citing a poem you should only mention highly relevant and most important things and the best stanza from the poem. Avoid adding unnecessary and non-catchy phrases as it might not leave much of a great impact on the readers.

How to cite a poem title

The title of a poem must be mentioned in quotation marks or italic font. Now the question is which is the better option? Sometimes the teacher mentions the particular requirements and rest of the times it is up to you completely. However, one way to make the right decision is to consider the length of the title. If it is a long one, choose the italic style, and if it is a shorter one; use quotation marks.

Example of a shorter title:

“life’s own battle.”

Example of a longer title:

Tape for the Turn of the Year

Main points

  • When you are mentioning the quote directly, mention the quotation marks to highlight it as a direct quote.
  • Write down the author’s first name, title, and then the page/line number.
  • Always place the punctuation after the parenthetical quotation marks.
  • If there are any question or exclamation marks in the citation, place them within the quotation marks.
  • On the other hand, if they are not part of the writer’s original piece, then place them outside the quotation marks.
  • Always mention the full reference on the bibliography page that is added at the end of the paper.


In Adrienne Rich’s “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”, Rich says that “Uncle’s wedding band / Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s hand” (7-8). The band evidently is a sign of the oppression.

Even though it is hardly required to cite poetry but still you must know how to do so. We have provided all the relevant information for citing a poem in your paper, so in case, if you ever need to reference a piece of poetry during your research paper writing there would be no issues. Usually, a requirement to cite poetry is for reflection papers, descriptive essays, often in personal statements, and some other kinds of essays.

If there are still any confusions that are bothering you to write an effective poetry reference, we can help you out any time you want. Our professional writers are highly qualified and experienced to provide you excellent help. You can either get complete bibliography from us or just take our professional’s assistance to construct the citation in the right form.