Set Off the Poem
Place the title of the poem in quotation marks and set it off with commas -- following the example of the Modern Language Association, which dictates style for papers written about arts and humanities topics. Also, it serves as a courtesy to the reader to preface quoted material with a signal word, in this case, “poem.” By doing so, you ensure that your reader will not mistake the poem for a creative work of another type. A good, anticipatory example might look like this: “Widely hailed as a 'renaissance woman,' Maya Angelou widened her audience further when she read her poem, 'On the Pulse of Morning,' at Bill Clinton's inauguration on Jan. 20, 1993.” Place full quotation marks around your poem title.
Honor the Poet's Style
Follow the poet's rendition to the letter if you quote passages from a poem. Although the first letter of the first word of each line of poetry is often capitalized, it might not be, depending on the poet's writing style. Set off these passages by single-spacing them within your essay.