How to Cite Poetry in a Bibliography
Regardless of what writing guide you are using to format your document, you will need to craft a list of references — called a bibliography, a works cited page or a references page — which is attached to the end of your work. Though the title of the list varies among the three most common writing guides — APA, MLA and Chicago styles — the rules for citing poems are very similar.
Under the citation rules for the seventh edition of the "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers," your citation should begin with the name of the poet. List the last name, followed by a comma, the first name and a period. Next, list the title of the poem in quotation marks and followed by a period. In italics, list the title of the collection in which the poem is found and then a period. Then list the name of the editor (precede the name with the title "Ed.") and a period. Next, list the city in which the work was published, a colon, the publishing house, a comma and the year of publication. Follow that with another period. Complete your citation with the page on which the poem was found and the medium of publication; follow both items with a period. If the poem is included in a collection of the author's own work, there will likely be no editor listed. Simply omit this piece of information from your citation.
The sixth edition of the "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association" does not provide specific instructions for poetry citations. If citing sources without explicit instructions, the guide suggests following the guidelines for the type of source most similar to yours. For poetry, this depends on where you find your poem. If your poem appears in a magazine, such as a literary magazine, begin your citation with the name of the poet (last name, comma and first name) followed by the year of publication in parentheses. Follow that with a period. Next, list the title of the poem and then a period. Then, in italics, write the title of the magazine, a comma, the volume number and another comma. Finally list the numbers of the pages on which the poem appears and conclude the citation with another period. If the poem appears in an anthology of work, list the author's name (last name, followed by a comma then the first name) then place the year of publication in parentheses and follow with a period. Next list the title of the poem and a period. Then write the word "In" followed by the name of the collection's editor and a comma. List the title of the collection in italics, the numbers of the page the work appears on in parentheses and then a period. Finally, list the city the publishing house is located in, followed by a colon and the name of the publisher.
Much like APA style, the 16th edition of the "Chicago Manual of Style" doesn't provide specific instructions for citing poems in a bibliography. Again, you should look to the guidelines for the source most similar to the one you are using. If the poem was found in a magazine, your bibliographic citation will begin with the poet's name — last name, followed by a comma, the first name and a period. Then list the title of the poem in quotation marks and place a period inside the closing marks. Finally, list the title of the magazine in italics, and follow that with a comma and the date of publication. If the poem was found in a collection, the citation will also begin with the poet's name and the poem's title. Next, however, you should write "In" followed by the name the book in italics and then place a comma. Then write "edited by" and list the name of the editor. After a comma, list the numbers of the page where the poem is found. Finally, list the city of publication followed by a colon, and conclude your citation with the name of the publishing house, a comma and the year of publication.
An MLA works cited citation for Edgar Allan Poe's poem The Raven would read: Poe, Edgar A. "The Raven." Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems (italicized). Edison, New Jersey: Castle Books, 2002. 773. Print. An APA reference page citation for a poem appearing in a magazine would read: Wilson, D. (2004, June). The Road in August. Midwest Literary Review, 12 (title and volume number in italics), 35-37. A citation for the same poem in an anthology would read: Wilson, D. (2004). The Road in August. The Poems of Fall (in italics) (pp. 312-314). Santa Barbara, CA: Big Books. A Chicago style bibliographic citation for a poem found in a magazine would read: Faulk, Charles. "A Meditation on Night." The Literary Review (in italics), March 2008. A citation for the same poem found in a collection would read: Faulk, Charles. "A Meditation on Night." In A Big Book of Western Poetry (book title in italics), edited by Bill Waters, 105-107. Chicago: Lake Michigan Publishing, 2009.
- MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition; Modern Language Association; 2009 (Print)
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA Works Cited Page: Books
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition; American Psychological Association; 2009 (Print)
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: Reference List: Basic Rules
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: Reference List: Articles in Periodicals
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: Reference List: Books
- Chicago Manual of Style, Sixteenth Edition; University of Chicago; 2010 (Print)
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: Periodicals
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: Books
First published in 2005, Kyle Whitney has covered news and sports in the Midwest, Washington, D.C., and Beijing. His articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines in Michigan and China. Whitney is currently a local government reporter at a daily paper.