When Writing An Essay Are Poem Titles 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.

Simply put: no.

APA's Publication Manual (2010) indicates that, in the body of your paper, you should use italics for the titles of:

  • books
  • periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers)
  • films
  • videos
  • TV shows
  • Microfilm publications

Beyond APA's specific examples, know that certain types of titles are almost always written in italics. 

Use italics in a word-processed document for the types of titles you'd underline if you were writing by hand.  A general rule of thumb is that within the text of a paper, italicize the title of complete works but put quotation marks around titles of parts within a complete work. 

The table below isn't comprehensive, but it's a good starting point

Titles in ItalicsTitles Placed in "Quotation Marks"
Title of a periodical (magazine, journal, newspaper)              Title of article in a periodical
Title of a book   Title of a chapter in a book
Title of a movie or playName of an act or scene in a movie or a play
Title of a television or radio series   Title of an episode within a tv or radio series
Title of a musical album or CDTitle of a song
Title of a long poemTitle of a short poem
Names of operas or long musical composition
Names of paintings and sculptures

Title of a short story

On an APA-style reference page, the rules for titles are a little different.  In short, a title you would italicize within the body of a paper will also be italicized on a reference page.  However, a title you'd place in quotation marks within the body of the paper (such as the title of an article within a journal) will be written in normal lettering and will not be in quotation marks.

Here are some examples:

Smith (2001) research is fully described in the Journal of Higher Education.

Smith's (2001) article "College Admissions See Increase" was published in the Journal of Higher Education after his pivotal study on the admissions process.

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