How do I cite a phrase from a poem quoted in the published version of a speech?
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.
To cite a poem quoted in the published version of a speech, create a works-cited-list entry for the speech since it is your source. You can provide relevant details about the poem being quoted in your prose or in a note.
For example, in a speech about the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy quoted Aeschylus. If you were quoting Kennedy’s speech, you might write the following and cite the speech:
Kennedy urged listeners to reject physical destruction and to seek mutual understanding, quoting Aeschylus, who wrote, “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
Kennedy, Robert F. “Statement on Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Indianapolis, Indiana, April 4, 1968.” John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, www.jfklibrary.org/learn/about-jfk/the-kennedy-family/robert-f-kennedy/robert-f-kennedy-speeches/statement-on-assassination-of-martin-luther-king-jr-indianapolis-indiana-april-4-1968.