When Writing An Essay Are Poems Underlined

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...

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.

Brandi Reissenweber

Q: Do I italicize the title of a short story? What about poem titles?

A: Titles of individual short stories and poems go in quotation marks. The titles of short story and poetry collections should be italicized. For example, “The Intruder,” a short story by Andre Dubus appears in his collection, Dancing After Hours.

This can get a little tricky when authors title their collection after a story within that collection. Junot Diaz’s collection of stories Drownincludes a story titled “Drown.” In this case, the use of italics or quotation marks can help the reader understand what’s being referenced—the entire book or the individual story.

This usage remains true even when titles appear within quotations. Let’s say you write a poem about a poem and you title it this way:

Lines after Reading “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

Now, you need to enclose the entire title of the poem within quotations when you mention this poem in a cover letter. The title that appears within the title, then, should be enclosed in single quotation marks:

“Lines after Reading ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’”

Brandi Reissenweber teaches fiction writing and reading fiction at Gotham Writers’ Workshop and authored the chapter on characterization in Gotham’sWriting Fiction: The Practical Guide. Her work has been published in numerous journals, including Phoebe, North Dakota Quarterly and Rattapallax. She was a James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and has taught fiction at New York University, University of Wisconsin and University of Chicago. Currently, she is a visiting professor at Illinois Wesleyan University.

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