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

Expert Answers
favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In general, the titles of long works are italicized or underlined; italicize them when you are typing and underline them when you are writing them out by hand. Likewise, in general, we place the titles of shorter works in quotation marks.

Therefore, the title of a book should be italicized or underlined, but a chapter title goes in quotation marks. An album title should be italicized or underlined, but a song title goes in quotation marks. The title of a collection of poems is italicized or underlined, but individual poem titles go in quotation marks. A newspaper's name is italicized or underlined, but article titles should go in quotation marks.

One thing I want to point out, however, is that, even though poem titles most often go in quotation marks, epic poem titles should be italicized or underlined since they are book-length. Epic poems are really, really long poems like The Iliad or The Odyssey or The Aeneid.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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 | Student

Quotations