MLA Style: Poetry

Poem titles are enclosed in quotes. They are neither underlined nor italicized.


Lord Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott” reflects the changing roles of women in the Victorian age.

If you are quoting two-three lines of poetry, you will use a slash with one space on each side. The lines of poetry are enclosed in quotes. Page numbers are not cited.  Instead, the line number(s), enclosed in parentheses, go after the end quote and before any end punctuation.  You will usually find the line numbers to the left of the poem.  If there are no line numbers, cite the title.


Lord Byron uses alliteration in the following lines, "Where thoughts serenely sweet express / How pure,

how dear their dwelling-place" (11-12).

If you are quoting more than three lines of poetry, you will indent each line by two tabs (one inch, ten spaces). The lines are not enclosed in quotes. The line number(s), enclosed in parentheses, go after any end punctuation. The lines, as always with MLA style, are double-spaced. Do not change any of the poem’s capitalization or punctuation. If a poem’s line goes further than the right margin of the page, continue it onto the next line and indent it three additional spaces.


Emily Dickinson writes about heroism:

                  We never know how high we are

                  Till we are called to rise;

                  And then, if we are true to plan,

                  Our statures touch the skies. (1-4)

Following is an example of how a poem in an anthology should appear on a Works Cited page:

Rosenberg England 4
Work Cited
Yeats, William Butler. “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.” Inside Literature. Ed. R.S. Gwynn and Steven J. Zani. New
          York: Pearson Longman, 2007. 393.  Print.


Page last updated 26 January 2010..