How do I cite two versions of a poem from the same anthology?
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.
As explained in a previous post, to distinguish between works with the same author and title, you need to include additional information in your parenthetical citation—usually the first unique piece of information in your works-cited-list entry. This principle applies if you are citing two versions of a poem from the same anthology.
For example, the anthology Poetry: An Introduction includes two versions of Emily Dickinson’s poem “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers—,” a version published in 1859 and an unpublished version from 1861 that Dickinson sent to Thomas W. Higginson. Your works-cited-list entries would look as follows:
Dickinson, Emily. “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers—.” 1859. Poetry: An Introduction, edited by Michael Meyer, 2nd ed., Bedford Books, 1998, p. 261.
---. “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers—.” 1861. Poetry: An Introduction, edited by Michael Meyer, 2nd ed., Bedford Books, 1998, p. 262.
Distinguish between the two versions in your in-text citation by including the version information in brackets:
If it is important to your discussion, indicate in your prose or in a note that the 1861 version is an unpublished version that Dickinson sent to Higginson.