How to Quote a Poem in an Essay

Quoting and citing a poem in an essay can be overwhelming if you don’t use the correct formatting styles. There are numerous rules that guide how to quote lines or ideas from other poets’ works. Failure to follow or apply them when writing your assignments can be considered plagiarism, a serious academic offense. Of course, using correct citations isn’t an inborn ability; it requires practice and willingness to learn. That’s why we have prepared this article to help you understand when, how, and why you need to quote a poem when writing.

Quoting a Poem in an Essay: Why Is It Necessary?

There are several reasons to quote a poem in a paper:

  1. It gives credit to other people’s ideas. If you are analyzing or writing about a specific poem, you’ll likely talk about its authors’ concepts and opinions. Since most of the content isn’t yours, quoting the work gives the writer credit where it’s due. In addition, it helps you avoid plagiarism.
  2.  Quoting a poem when writing gives your work validity; it links your work with the source, thus providing credible information about the literature in question.
  3.   Quoting a poem proves that you’ve read and understood it.

How to Reference a Poem in an Essay

Before quoting a poem in an essay, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the quote necessary? Whenever you feel like using a quote, you should confirm if it is needed. Furthermore, you must be certain it will add more information to your essay. Quoting a poem can only be necessary if it simplifies your writing or adds more ideas to your discussion. So, it would be best if you used quotes only when relevant.
  • Does the quote support your argument? When quoting any poem or literature, you should ask yourself if it helps to develop your argument by providing specific evidence.

No matter how many quotes you use, as with any references, writing and citing them in the wrong place can make your paper less appealing and reduce its quality. That’s why it requires practice and technical know-how, as discussed in the following section.

Now that you have learned how to quote and cite a poem, you should practice to perfect the skill. The above information is vital for any individual who wants to analyze poetry or write their own masterpieces. However, if you face any challenges while handling assignments involving citing poems and other course work, you may seek professional assistance from services that provide help with writing an essay online; CustomWritings is an all-in-one essay writing service with 18+ years of experience in the market. They deal with 80+ disciplines at all academic levels and find the best-matching writer for every student.

Tips to quote a poem in an essay

Academic assignments, especially essays, research papers, proposals, and literature, require students to be conversant with different formatting styles. Therefore, it’s crucial to learn the benefits of citing your homework, the most commonly used approaches, and their requirements.

This section analyzes the two most common styles for citing a poem in an essay, including in-text citations and the references or works cited page.

American Psychological Association (APA) Style

APA is commonly used when citing sources in social sciences. However, it can also be applied when quoting a poem in an essay. The style involves two main parts:

In-text citations

Citing a poem in APA requires you to use parentheses at the end of your quotes. Your in-text citations should have the author’s last name, a comma, and the year of publication. In most cases, you should use these standard requirements; however, quoting an online or published poem, you can indicate its publication date.

When citing quotes in a single line, you should treat them like any other academic work; that involves writing the line in question, enclosing it in quotation marks, and writing the year of publication. As a general rule, always place the in-text citation before the final punctuation.

Sometimes, you may be required to quote multiple lines of a poem. In such cases, always remember to use block quotes; you should write the poem as it appears in the source without quotation marks, indent each line, double-space the section, and place the in-text citation after the quote’s final punctuation.

Citing the reference page in APA

When citing a poem in the reference page APA, you should write the poet’s name, publication date, poem title, and the link to the website where it is found.

Here is an example:

Donne, J. (2003). To his mistress going to bed.

Modern Language Association (MLA)

MLA style is commonly used in media and English studies, literary criticism, and literature. Therefore, it is more appropriate when quoting a poem in an essay. Like APA, it involves two main parts; in-text citations and the reference page.

In-text citations

MLA requires parentheses at the end of a quote, the author’s last name, and the line number of the specific section in question.

If the text doesn’t have line numbers, you should indicate the exact page where one can find the poem. Also note that if you’re quoting several lines of a text, you must use the block method and avoid quotation marks. In addition, you should indent each line and place the in-text citation after the last punctuation.

Also, a single line should be presented like any other quote, with quotation marks followed by the in-text citation in brackets at the end. Always remember that the citation comes before the last punctuation in a sentence.

Citing the reference page in MLA

If you quote a poem in an essay using MLA, the works cited page should include the poet’s last name, first name, the poem’s title in quotation marks, the website’s name, URL, and the date when it was accessed.

Here is an example:

Ginsberg, Allen. ” Howl.” PoetryFoundation, Accessed on 16 May. 2023.

Learning the steps to reference a poem in an essay might seem challenging for students unfamiliar with different citation styles. However, it gradually becomes easy with practice and consistency.

So, Is It Necessary to Quote a Poem in an Essay?

Some people think it is not necessary to quote a poem in writing. In addition, they don’t consider it worth mentioning references from poetry works. It’s widely believed that quotations from poems give similar reflections as the ones individuals get from the original lines and stanzas. However, according to this report, it is important to acknowledge where a quote came from and attribute it to the source and author. Like in other academic assignments, citing quotes prevents plagiarism and gives your work validity.