Skip to main content

Referencing: Print, Online & Media Resources: Poems

APA Style

APA does not have official guidelines for citing a poem. It is possible, however, to gather some guidelines from the other materials in order to put together a poem citation. Generally, you will reference the source of the poem in the usual way - if you read the poem online, cite the website as the carrier, if you read it in a book then cite the book as the carrier, etc. 

The year you quote should be the publication date of the source, not the date the poem was written, or first published. If the date of writing is significant, you could include it in your text.

From a single author collection of poetry

  • Pope, A. (1963). The poems of Alexander Pope (J. Butt, Ed.). London: Methuen.
  • Hardy, T. (1930). The collected poems of Thomas Hardy (4th ed.). London: Macmillan.

From an anthology of poetry using the "Chapter in an edited book" style

  • Behn, A. (2001). The disappointment. In J. Stevenson, & P. Davidson (Eds.), Early modern women poets: an anthology (pp. 365-369). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Cleveland, J. (1972). To the state of love, or the senses festival. In H. Gardner (Ed.), The metaphysical poets (pp. 218-220). Harmonsworth: Penguin.

From the web

  • Herrick, R. (n.d.). To daffodils. Retrieved from http://quotations.about.com/cs/poemlyrics/a/To_Daffodils.htm
  • Donne, J. (2003). To his mistress going to bed. Retrieved from http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/elegy20.htm

Citation in Text

  • To daffodils (Herrick, n.d.) is a typical example of the poet's treatment of the fleetingness of life ...
  • "O, my America, my Newfoundland" (Donne, 2003) is a pun which may sound slightly awkward to the modern ear. However, in the context of the poet's period ...
  • In Ode for Musick, on St Cecilia's Day (Pope, 1963, pp. 139-142) the poet writes an occasional poem which was probably never set to music ...
  • Hardy (1930, p. 126) experiments with an uncommon form, the triolet, in The coquette, and after ...
  • In The disappointment, Behn (2001, p. 367) describes male impotence from a female perspective ...
  • Cleveland (1972, p. 219), alludes to Drake's circumnavigation of the world in To the state of love, which is an example of ...

Notes

  • If you wish to cite individual lines in a poem, follow departmental guidance, or simply add (line 52) or (lines 52-59) at an appropriate point in your text.

Harvard Style

You should refer to the name of the poem and the poet in the main body of your work, and include a citation to the anthology in which it appears.

Reference: Surname, Initial(s). ed(s). Year. Title. Edition (if not first edition). Place of publication: Publisher.

In the reference list/bibliography, refer only to the anthology in which the poem was published:

Example:

  • Ferguson, M., Salter, M.J. and Stallworthy, J. eds. 2005. The Norton anthology of poetry. 5th ed. London: W.W. Norton.

In-text citation:

  • (Author, date)
  • (Author, date, page no.)

Example:

  • Geoffrey Hill's The Guardians (Ferguson et al., 2005, p.1832) was well received by critics in 1959.

Source: University of Leeds

MLA Style

Reference: Poem Author’s Last name, First name. "Title of Poem.” Title of Collection, edited by Editor(s) First name, Last name, Edition, Publisher, Year of Publication. Page range. 

Example: Jonson, Ben. "To the Memory of My Beloved, the Author Mr. William Shakespeare." The Norton Anthology of Poetry, edited by Alexander Allison et al., 3rd Edition, New York Norton, 1983. 239-40.

In-Text-Citation:

  • (Author Last name Page no.)
  • (Page no.)

Example:

  • In this poem (Jonson 239)….
  • Jonson declares his admiration for Shakespeare (239)….

Note: In the full reference/Works Cited section, list the author's name as it appears in the work, i.e. last name and full first name or last name and initials.

Source: UCD Library

MHRA Style

There are two styles of MHRA referencing - footnotes and bibliography style and author-date style. Please check with your lecturer/tutor which one you must use.

For information on both types of styles please see information here from the Univeristy of St. Andrews, and here from the MHRA style guide online.