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Parenthetical Citation and Poetry Citation in a Research Paper



In MLA style, sources are acknowledged by parenthetical citations in the text instead of numbered footnotes. It includes just enough information to point the reader to the complete information in the Works Cited list. Depending on your sources, the parenthetical citations will be different.

Cite your source at the end of the sentence or group of sentences by placing the information in parenthesis followed by a period.



Book – single author (Lesnett 43).

Book – 2 or more authors (Lesnett and Sandburg 167).

Article in anthology last name of author and page number

Encyclopedia on-line (Brittanica).

Web site (poets.org ). Note: shorten web address if needed



Quoting Poetry

1. The name of the poem is enclosed in quotations, not underlined or in italics. Example: In Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall,” he portrays…

2. When quoting from a poem, always use the exact punctuation.

3. Identify the poet in the text or in parentheses following the quotation.

4. Be sure to give the line reference in parenthesis following the quotation. Example: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” (line 1).

5. When quoting only one line of poetry, just keep going in the text.

6. When quoting 2-3 lines of poetry, separate each line with a slash (space before and after the slash) and enclose it all in quotation marks. Example: Robert Frost writes about nature in his opening lines, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, / That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, / And spills the upper boulders in the sun;” (lines 1-3).





7. When quoting 4 or more lines of poetry, start a new line and indent 2 tabs. Keep each line of poetry the way it appears in the text and do NOT use quotation marks. Example:

Robert Frost uses many examples from nature to discuss the differences

between the speaker of the poem and his neighbor.

He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

My apple trees will never get across

And eat the cones under his pine, I tell him.

He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.” (lines 24-27)

8. If you need to leave a few words out of a line of poetry you are quoting, use an ellipsis mark (…) for that section. If you eliminate an entire line use an entire row of periods to indicate it.

Example: “We keep the wall between us as we go, / To each the boulders…to each.” (lines 16-17).






Remember to double space everything in your research paper.






How do I format a poetry quotation in MLA? When the dialogue shifts to another character, start a new line indented half an inch. Indent each name half an inch from the left margin and write it in all capital letters. Follow the name with a period and then start the quotation. Indent all other lines in the character’s speech an additional amount. When the dialogue shifts to another character, start a new line indented half an inch.