Poetry Essay Primary Source Citation

The IVCC Stylebook includes examples of citing poetry as does our textbook, pgs. 411-412. But I’ve also included some example here with “made-up” poems–you will input your own poem’s title, author name, line numbers, and page numbers (when applicable). I’ve included both direct quote and paraphrase/summary citation examples.

These examples are geared toward the Poetry Essay assignment, but please note the three main expectations when citing poetry in your essay writing:

  1. you will reference the original line breaks of the poem with slashes. Weird yes, but super important because poets toil and cry and obsess over line breaks, so forgetting to reference them could mean that you will be haunted (not bad, eh? this one is good too) by said poet you for the rest of your life. Or receive a reduced grade…
  2. you will use the line numbers from the poem in your parenthetical documentation, not the page number. Unless you’re paraphrasing, in which case you’ll use the page number.
  3. use block quote formatting when citing more than three lines of the poem. For an example, scroll down to the “if you cite more than three lines of poetry” area of this link.

Primary Source from Textbook

Direct quote: Regina George writes “everyone loves me / I have no flaws” (lines 2-3).

Paraphrase/summary: George’s poem shows readers that high self-esteem doesn’t always correlate to the perspective of others (252).

Primary Source from Poetry Foundation

Direct quote: Regina George writes, “Everyone love me / I have no flaws” (lines 2-3).

Strong paraphrase/summary: The speaker in the poem shows readers that high self-esteem doesn’t always correlate to the perspective others have of that individual (George).

Weak paraphrase/summary: George’s poem shows readers that high self-esteem doesn’t always correlate to the perspective others have of that individual.

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