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MLA Guide

This guide contains information to help you cite your sources in MLA format.

Citing a Poem: In-Text Citation

Quoting a single line of poetry

Format: (Poet Last Name line number(s))

*Note: Only include the line numbers if they are already included in the poem you are citing. You do not need to count line numbers if they are not already included. If you find the poem in a book, you can use the page number(s) for the poem. If you found the poem online and there are no page numbers or line numbers, you only need to include the poet's last name.

Example: "So better by far for me if you were stone" (Duffy line 17).


Quoting 2-3 lines of poetry

When quoting 2-3 lines of poetry, use a forward slash ( / ) to mark the line breaks. If there is a stanza break between the lines you are quoting, use a double slash ( // ). Be sure to put a space before and after the slash. 

Use the exact punctuation, capitalization, and styling as used in the original text.

Format: (Poet Last Name line number(s))

Example: "Wasn't I beautiful? / Wasn't I fragrant and young? // Look at me now" (Duffy lines 40-42).


Quoting 3+ lines of poetry

When quoting more than 3 lines of poetry, use a block quote. Be sure to keep the spacing, punctuation, and capitalization the same as it is in the poem.

Example: In the poem "Medusa," Medusa discusses why she wants to turn the man she loves into stone:

Be terrified.

It's you I love,

perfect man, Greek God, my own;

but I know you'll go, betray me, stray

from home.

So better by far for me if you were stone. (Duffy lines 12-17)

Citing a Poem: Works Cited

Poem in a book

Format: Last Name, First Name. "Poem Title." Book Name, Publisher, Year, Page.

Example: Duffy, Carol Ann. "Medusa." The World's Wife, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1999, pp. 40-42.


Poem in an anthology

Format: Last Name, First Name. "Poem Title." Anthology Title, edited by Editor, edition, vol. #, Publisher,

Year, Page.

Example: Duffy, Carol Ann. "Medusa." Norton Anthology of English Literature, edited by Stephen Greenblatt,

9th ed., vol. F, W. W. Norton, 2012, pp. 3043-3044.


Poem from website

Format: Last Name, First Name. "Poem Title." Poem Publication Year. Website Name, URL. Access Date.

Example: Duffy, Carol Ann. "Medusa." 1999, Genius, https://genius.com/Carol-ann-duffy-medusa-annotated.

Accessed 2 Dec. 2020.