Do you underline or put quotes around a title of a poem?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The rule that applies to titles regarding whether to use quotation marks or underlining is as follows:

Underline the titles of long written works that are published as a single work.

Here are some examples of works that should have quotation marks:

  1. short stories
  2. chapters of books
  3. one-act plays
  4. short poems
  5. titles of essays and articles

So, if the poem is not a long poem, use quotation marks. [e.g."The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost] If the poem is longer and considered on its own, underline it, or italicize it. [The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope]  If, however it is cited as part of a collection, it is placed in quotation marks whenever a collection in which it if found is also named and is underlined or italicized.

e.g."The Rape of the Lock" in The Works of Alexander Pope  (Italics are used here as enotes does not have underlining.)

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

You need to make sure that what you select is OK with your teacher, however, generally, for poems, we put quotes round the title. For novels and plays, we italicise or underline, but for the titles of short stories and poems we put them in quotations. Thus you can study Macbeth and write an essay analysing the poem "Ulysses." Likewise you can read Jane Eyre and compare it with a short story like "The Death of an Hour." Golden rule though is to check with your teacher. Hope this helps!

dchinone's profile pic

dchinone | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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