How do I cite nonconsecutive lines from a poem like Homer’s The Odyssey?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
The order of information in your citations should always match the order in which you present information in your text. Thus, when you cite nonconsecutive lines of poetry, make sure that the order of the line numbers in your in-text citation corresponds to the order of the quotations in your prose. The following provides an example:
The opening lines of Homer’s Odyssey tell us that Odysseus, a “complicated man,” “wandered and was lost” after he and the other Greeks “wrecked the holy town of Troy” (lines 1, 3, and 2).
Homer. The Odyssey. Translated by Emily Wilson, W. W. Norton, 2018.
Read our related post on citing quotations that are on nonconsecutive pages.