- Make Use of Quotation Marks and Short Quotes
When you want to quote a poem with less than 40 words in your essay, the quote must be placed inside quotation marks. You don’t necessarily have to begin a new line to set the quote off. For instance, start with a quote like this: Walker writes, “Some people say the earth will end in fire.”
- Next, Show The Line Breaks
If you wish to quote two lines of poetry in your essay, make sure you indicate the exact position where the line breaks are found. You can achieve this by placing a forward slash between the lines.
For example, ensure that you cite two lines of the poem in such a manner: many people claim that the world will come to an end in fire, / others claim in ice.”
- For Longer Quotes, Use Block Quotations
If you want to quote longer quotes of a poem past 40 words in an essay, make sure you use block quotation formatting. This starts in a new line, and you must indent it ½ inch starting from the left margin. Never use quotation marks using block quotes. It’s not essential since the indentation shows that this is a quote.
Don’t forget to use the double-spacing that you have in the remaining part of the paper.
- Add The Name of the Author, The Page Number, and The Year
Anytime you add a quote from a poem, you must include an in-text citation that will direct the reader of the essay to the correct entry to the works cited. You must include the author’s last name on the citation, the page number, plus the year of publication.
If you mention the name of the author in the quote introduction, be sure to include the year in parentheses form immediately after having the author’s name plus the page number in parentheses at the end of the quote.
If you don’t add the author’s name to the introductory quote sentence, please include all three pieces of information. But make sure you separate them using commas, in parentheses at the final part of the quote.
All parenthetical citations must appear immediately after punctuating the previous sentence.
If you fail to include the name of the author in the introductory quote sentence, then make sure you have all the information. But you must separate them using commas in parentheses form at the final part of the quote.
All parenthetical citations must come must appear after punctuating the previous sentence.
- Include Indirect References
You should cite a poem any time you are referring to it, even if you don’t include a quote. Make sure you refer to the source. When you don’t want to refer to a single specific page of the poem, you can still avoid including the page number from the parenthetical citation. But you should still include a page number.
How to Quote a Poem in MLA
Quoting a poem in MLA style has so many restrictions that guide how you can quote a poem. Improper quoting of a poem can be a form of plagiarism. However, if you don’t know how to quote a poem in MLA, here is a simple guide on the essential things you need to know before you start.
- Put the poem titles in quotation marks anytime you are writing them in a sentence. Please don’t italicize or underline them.
- Make sure you type only short quotations of less than three lines to the text. Ensure you include a slash and space on both sides to split the poem lines. Let the lines appear in a verbatim manner the same way they appear in a poem. Don’t even paraphrase them. Make sure that the first letter on each line in your poetry is capitalized.
- Indent the quotations having more than four lines. Make sure you indent them about 10 spaces from the left side of the margin. Please don’t include quotation marks for extended quotes. Furthermore, include the line numbers on the parentheses immediately after closing the quotation punctuation. Avoid adding another comma after placing the in-text citation. Additionally, use a colon after immediately after a full sentence that introduces a quotation to get rid of the comma splice.
- Include a short omission using an ellipsis. Please use an ellipsis anytime you have an extended quotation that requires shortening or once you want to avoid any irrelevant material to the point you are writing.
- When an ellipsis covers a line break, don’t be worried about adding a backslash on the ellipsis. If you continue with the quotation without an ellipsis, make sure you add the backslashes that will indicate the breaks.
- Once more, ensure you delete all irrelevant lines on the point you are developing. Let the line of the ellipse be as extended as the poetry lines to make the poem symmetry.
- Finally, when borrowing an idea or quoting a phrase, make sure you use citations. Or else it will be plagiarism. Please use quotation marks on the phrases or words that you take verbatim. Summarizing the poem using your own words in the essay doesn’t need quote marks. But you must include an in-text citation at the final part of the borrowed ideas.
David Nilsen is the former editor of Fourth & Sycamore. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can find more of his writing on his website at davidnilsenwriter.com and follow him on Twitter as @NilsenDavid.