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  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (January 14, 2008)

Poetry: Quoting Verse Correctly

Students studying English need to know how to quote verse correctly. Follow the examples below.


Quoting a Few Lines:

For short quotes of two or three lines, use the slash (/) to indicate the end of each verse line.

Szymborska asks for forgiveness: "Forgive me, distant wars, for bringing flowers home./Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger."

Quoting More:

For larger blocks of text (full stanzas, particularly), set the quoted text off as a block underneath your own writing.

Szymborska's poem, "Thank You Note" surprises us at its beginning when she extends thanks to people she does not love, finding a "relief," "happiness" and "freedom" that love cannot provide.

I owe so much
to those I donít love.

The relief as I agree
 that someone else needs them more.

The happiness that Iím not
 the wolf to their sheep.

The peace I feel with them,
 the freedom Ė
 love can neither give
 nor take that.

Remember that students need to quote confidently from poetry during their work in English 11 and 12. British Columbia's provincial exams require it, also.

See our most recent tips.

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