Poetry is one of the most artistic and beautiful forms of writing, and can be a valuable resource to consider as a paper topic or as a piece of evidence for a research paper. Let’s take a look at how to cite a poem in some of the most popular citation styles available on Cite This For Me.

Here are some of the pieces of information you may want to locate prior to making your reference for a poem:

  • Poet’s first and last name
  • Title of the poem
  • Title of the book where you located or read the poem (if applicable)
  • Book editor’s first and last name (if applicable)
  • Publisher name
  • Year published
  • Page numbers

How to cite a poem in Harvard referencing style (Cite Them Right 10th edition)


Poet Last Name, First Initial. (Year) ‘Poem title’, in Last Name, Initial (ed.) Book title. Location: Publisher, pp. xx-xx.


Frost, R. (2015) ‘The road not taken’, in Swank, L. (ed.) An introduction to American poetry. New York: Viking Press, pp. 48-49.


*For help creating citations of different sources in this format, try the Cite This For Me Harvard reference generator.

How to cite a poem in MLA format


Poet Last Name, First Name. “Title of Poem.” Title of Book: Subtitle if Any, edited by Editor’s First Name Last Name, Edition if given and is not first, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of Publication, pp. xx-xx.


Frost, Robert. “The Road Not Taken.” An Introduction to American Poetry, edited by Lisa Swank, Viking Press, 2015, pp. 48-49.


*If you’re doing an annotated bibliography, be sure to check out this MLA annotated bibliography example.

How to cite a poem in APA format


Poet Last Name, First Initial. (Year). Poem title. In Editor Initial Last Name (Ed.), Book title (pp. xx-xx). Publisher.


Frost, R. (2015). The road not taken. In L. Swank (Ed.), An introduction to American poetry (pp. 48-49). Viking Press.


*Creating an in-text citation? The following link has an APA in-text citation example.

How do I format an in-text citation for a poem in MLA style?

To create an in-text citation for a poem in the MLA style, the author’s full name and the title of the poem should be mentioned in prose the first time. Thereafter, either the in prose or parenthetical citation format can be used.

Citation in Prose format and example:

Author’s First and Last Name . . . “Title of Poem” . . . .  OR  “Title of Poem” . . . Author’s First and Last Name . . . .

In “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” Robert Frost uses repetition to present . . . .

Parenthetical Citation format and example:

(Author’s Last Name)


Use this format if discussing more than one of the author’s poems:

(Author’s Last Name Title of Work)

(Frost “Stopping”)


Citing Poem Lines

If referring to specific lines within a poem, like when using a quote, line numbers are used. Use the poet’s last name and the line numbers in the in-text citation.

If it is a short poem (less than a page), line numbers are optional. If it is a very long poem and has named divisions (e.g., canto or book), include these divisions. If no lines numbers are provided for a poem, use the page number if available.

Citation in Prose format:

Author’s First and Last Name and “Title of Poem” . . .

Author’s First and Last Name and Title of Poem and Division and line #.

Citation in Prose examples:

In Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays,” “blueblack cold” is an example of synesthesia.

In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Book 1, line 263, Satan says, “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n.”

Parenthetical Citation format:

(Last Name, line #) [if your source has line numbers]

(Last Name, division #. line #)

(Last Name) [If your source does not have line numbers]

Parenthetical Citation examples:

The second stanza employs hyperbole. “Ten thousand saw I at a glance, / Tossing their heads in sprightly dance” (Wordsworth, lines 11-12).

In Canto VI, Virgil states that “the more a thing is perfect / The more it feels of pleasure and of pain” (Alighieri 6.105).

The poet juxtaposes two opposite concepts in the lines, “Once upon an eternity within a second” (Hammock).

When using a short quote from a poem, use the same punctuation and spellings that are found in the poem. A single forward slash is used to indicate the spacing between individual lines and a double slash is used to indicate a stanza break.

How do I format a works cited entry for a poem in MLA style?

To format an MLA works-cited list entry for a poem include the poem’s author, the poem’s title, the title of the work in which the poem appears (anthology title, book title, etc.), the editor or author of the work in which the poem appears, the publisher, the year, and the page number. If applicable, also include the anthology’s details, such as edition number and volume number.


Author Last Name, First Name. “Poem Title.” Book Title, Editor’s First and Last Name, general editor, # ed., vol. #, Publisher Name, Publication, Year, p. #.


Frost, Robert. “Home Burial.” Poetry: A Pocket Anthology, R.S. Gwynn, general editor, 3rd ed., Penguin Academics, 2002, pp. 213-15.