How to: In-Text Citation of a Poem

Updated July 21, 2017

The correct citation format is required when using outside sources within a body of text. However, the citation format will vary depending on the type of source that is used. An example of this is poetry, as citing a poem slightly differs from citing prose. Follow formatting guidelines for the correct in-text citation of a poem.

Cite a poem in-text using the Modern Language Association (MLA) style, as MLA is used in the disciplines that are most likely to use sources of literature. MLA recommends including the author's name and the line number in the in-text citation. For example, (Browning, line 3).

Place the name and line number in parentheses with a comma separating the two. Omit the author's name in the citation if the name is introduced within the text. The citation will then only include the line number. For example, (line 8).

Indicate within the citation when multiple lines of poetry are quoted. For example, (Browning, lines 11-14). Also, when quoting four or more lines that are placed in an indented block, cite using numbers only and omit the word "line." For example, (9-12).

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About the Author

Candice Jones began writing in 2006. She has written articles for the university publication "Women and Gender Studies Newsletter." Jones holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of South Carolina.