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Citing poetry in MLA style

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1 Citing poetry in MLA style

2 Long quotes When citing long sections (more than three lines) of poetry, keep formatting as close to the original as possible. In his poem "My Papa's Waltz," Theodore Roethke explores his childhood with his father: The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy. We Romped until the pans l.=line; ll.=lines Slid from the kitchen shelf; My mother's countenance Could not unfrown itself. (ll. 1-8).

3 To cite lines from a poem:
To indicate short quotations from verse (poetry), enclose the quotation within double quotation marks. In parenthesis, provide the author and line numbers from the text, and include a complete reference on the Works Cited page.

4 Punctuation Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical citation. Question marks and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text.

5 To indicate a line break--
When using short (fewer than three lines of verse) quotations from poetry, mark line breaks with a slash, ( / ), at the end of each line of verse (a space should precede and follow the slash). Cullen concludes, "Of all the things that happened there / That's all I remember" (ll ). line break line numbers (The above examples are from Purdue’s OWL).

6 Practice: How would you imbed and cite the following?
Your job is to prove that the Danes need Beowulf. How could use these two lines (lines ) to do that? That the Heavens weep. Our only help, Again, lies with you. Grendel’s mother Cut the words that you don’t need. Imbed a quote—think quotation sandwich (lead in/provide context, put the quote with punctuation, use line numbers). Then provide a sentence or two explaining.

7 Example Hrothgar explains to Beowulf that Grendel’s mother is now terrorizing them. Hrothgar honestly characterizes the Danes’ desperation when he tells Beowulf, “Our only help,/ Again, lies with you” ( ). The use of “only” and “again” emphasizes that Beowulf remains the lone human capable of protection ( ). These words remind the audience that there is only one epic hero in this story.

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