Poem citation -How to cite a poem in APA and MLA

Poem citation -How to cite a poem in APA and MLA

The importance of giving reference to the sources you acquire information from cannot be overemphasized. Citing a source irrespective of whichever form it was provided is beneficial because it serves as verification to your work, and adds precision to it.

More than avoiding plagiarism, and upholding academic honesty and transparency, citing sources allows you to become better at carrying out research. How? Learning to pay attention to details, identifying patterns, finding out how each of these sources is noted differently, and compiling and noting all of the source elements is good practice and can help you become a better researcher.

As we noted earlier, citing your source is a bedrock rock that provides your work with credibility and indicates that you had done your research, you understand what you are writing about, and not just writing from mere assumptions.

Before citing your source, it is important to determine which citation format you will use, create your in-text citation, understand what chapters, pages, and words you will quote, and in the case of movies or documentaries, the time stamp, afterwards, pick out the sources you would like to use, could be books, journal articles, newspapers, thesis, etc.

After you have picked out your sources the next step is gathering your source’s relevant information and details because these are the things you will include in your reference, identify information like the year of publication place of publication, the author’s name, the title of whatever you are using, and even the URL, if applicable.

You’ll admit that depending on the citation style some sources are a bit harder to reference than others, while most sources are straightforward and require just basic information, others may be inclusive and require more details. Poems are not often used relative to their books and journal counterparts, and too many may be a little bit tricky to cite, then again, depending on what citation format you use.


A poem is a type of writing in which ideas and thoughts are expressed in a lyrical arrangement. When it comes to poems words are chosen for their beauty and sound, and are frequently arranged in short lines that rhyme. Citing a poem involves following a set of rules.

This involves using the identical words of an author in your academic writing. When citing poetry, it is important to know when it is permissible to do so. Finding the greatest examples of quotations to cite – the ones that communicate the text’s full meaning – is critical. Here are a few quick tips to help you grasp the concept:

Citations are required whenever you use a line or a verse from poetry. Plagiarism arises if you fail to properly credit a borrowed concept.

The in-text reference should be placed at the end of the paraphrased sections of the text. In this instance, there is no need for quotation marks.

If you wish to prove your point, you should use a quote. Your audience will be impressed if you use straightforward or even indirect language. This guide will show you how to reference poems in two common reference styles.

How to cite a poem in MLA

When referencing a poem in MLA, you begin with the poet’s name, the title of the poem comes next, in quotation marks, and then include information on the publication of the poem. To break down this format, the author’s name, (surname first, then other names), poem title, book title, (if the poem was acquired from a book), publisher, year, and page numbers.

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For example, Adams, Tony, “wonderland.” Book of rhymes, Henry, Paul, 2006, p23-29.

For in-text citations, you use just the last name of the poet. (Adams).

When quoting a poem, you will need to separate the quotations in the poem with a slash (/) and include the poet’s name, and surname, lastly, if the poem has line numbers, you add the poem’s line to indicate the exact parts you are quoting. For example, “the corrupt masters of the economy/ with their head abroad, and their anus at home” (Umeh, 2-4).

If the poems do not come with line numbers, you can only include the name of the author at the end of the bracket, “the corrupt masters of the economy/ with their head abroad, and their anus at home” (Umeh).

And if the poem is published over pages, then you can indicate the page number, like: “the corrupt masters of the economy/ with their head abroad, and their anus at home” (Umeh, 53).

For poems accessed from websites, mention the URL if you received the poetry through a website. Indicate the date you last saw the webpage if it contains a publication date; otherwise, the most recent date you’ve had access to it should suffice. If you think it’s appropriate, you might also include the year the poem was originally published straight below the title.

Author’s name. (Remember to always begin with the last name), the title of the poem, the year the poem was originally published, website name, date, (day, month, and year), and URL.

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For example, Adams, Tony, “wonderland” 1999. How to write poetry, www.howtowritepeotry.com/poems/2276/wonderland. Accessed 12 January 2008.

How To cite a poem in APA

There are three different ways to reference a poem when using the APA guideline. If you are referencing a single author of a poetry collection, you can reference it with the poet’s name (Surname and initials), the year, the poem’s title, the editor’s name, and the publication.

For example, Adams, T, (2006). Wonderland. ( M. Harry, Ed.). swift press

If the poem was derived from a book, you include the title of the book right after the editor, indicating the page number as well, and line the location. Adams, T, (2006). Wonderland. ( M. Harry, Ed.). Book of Rhymes, (pp 23-29) Lagos.: swift press

If the poem was gotten online, it follows the above format, but you will include the web address of the poem. For example, Adams, T, (2006). Wonderland. https://www. poems.com/poems/wonderland.

For in-text citation, you should start with the name of the poet, the year of publication, and the lines or page number, for example,

As Umeh (2018, p. 53) said “the corrupt masters of the economy/ with their head abroad, and their anus at home” (lines 2-4).

Depending on how you quote it, it also goes this way, “the corrupt masters of the economy/ with their head abroad, and their anus at home” (Umeh, 2018, P. 53).

If there is no page or line, you can cite just the author and the year. And you are good to go!

I hope you find this guide useful!


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