01:790:340 Study Guide - Quiz Guide: Burning Deck Press, Simile, John DonneExam
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359:201 Principles of Literary Study: Poetry 9/23/19
Guidelines for Quoting Poetry in Essays
When you quote another text in your writing, you should always blend the grammar of the
quoted text with the grammar of your own sentence—even when you’re quoting from a poem!
There are two choices for formatting verse quotations in your prose. Keep this general principle
in mind: you should always indicate where linebreaks occur in the text you’re quoting. If you’re
quoting a passage that’s three lines or fewer, you should run the text into your paragraph, using
forward slashes to indicate linebreaks (see example 1, below). If you’re quoting a passage that’s
four lines or longer, indent and single-space the passage, typing out the linebreaks as they appear
in the poem as printed (see example 2, below).
Finally, use parentheses to indicate which lines you’re quoting.
In Felicia Hemans’s poem “Casabianca,” the speaker describes how “the boy stood on the
burning deck/ Whence all but he had fled” (lines 1–2).
The eighth stanza of the poem contains a simile, in which flames (the tenor of the comparison)
are likened to “banners in the sky” (line 32)—the vehicle.
In the first stanza of “The Flea,” Donne’s speaker offers a little lecture to his lover:
Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be. (lines 1–4)
In this context, “mark” (line 1) is a command to pay attention to the flea, who “now sucks thee”
(the lover, line 3) after having bitten the speaker. The speaker makes this observation in order to
argue that the flea has performed a kind of marriage: the lovers’ “two bloods” are “mingled”
inside its body (line 4).
**Turn this sheet over for your assignment!**
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