View Full Version : How Do I Cite Use of a Public Domain Work?

04-29-2015, 08:06 AM
Wasn't sure which forum to put this question in. If it turns out, I put it in the wrong one, please move to whichever one is more appropriate.

Okay, I'm currently slapping together the materials needed before I start sending it out to people: throwing together a synopsis, a query, and getting my manuscript formatted properly. Y'know the works.

Thing is, throughout my manuscript, I reference a poem by Sara Teasdale called "There Will Come Soft Rains," eventually quoting it in its entirety towards the end. I did look up and said poem is in the public domain so I don't have to pay anyone in order to use it, but I want to make sure, y'know, everything's done by the book. So I'm kind of curious as to how to cite this poem. Also, where, in the packet of materials I'm sending, should I mention my use of this poem? I'm guessing not the query, because that's a sales letter, but do I need set aside a place in the synopsis or manuscript?

I know, probably worrying for nothing, but maybe someone can give me some good sound advice.

Old Hack
04-29-2015, 04:11 PM
You cite it in the same way you would anything else: you give its name, the name of the author, the date of its publication, the book it was published in--that sort of information. Keep it consistent with how you cite everything else.

There's no need to mention your use of the poem until you've got a publishing contract and are working with your editor.

04-29-2015, 09:12 PM
When you put the poem in the book, or when you mention it, you simply put in the author's byline. Nothing else is necessary.

04-29-2015, 11:28 PM
That very line "There will come soft rains" is the title of a famous story by Ray Bradbury. In that story he explicitly references Teasdale's poem, and quotes extensively from it.