Excerpted and quoted poems [189]


Handling of excerpted and quoted poems, including cases where the full extent of the original poem is unknown


This entry describes how to encode excerpts and quotations of poetry.

All excerpted and quoted poems, however short, will be encoded within a surrounding “wrapper” <lg>. This applies even to single lines and couplets. This will make it easier to extract all pieces of poetry from the collection.

We no longer identify fragments as such, since it is often impossible to tell whether a quotation includes a poem in its entirety or not. Instead, we use the same type= values as for entire poems:

1. Use <lg type="poem.indeterminate"> for all poem fragments that have no internal white space. In such cases there is no need for any internal <lg>. Thus if an epigraph quotes only four rhymed lines of poetry, we would tag this as <lg type="poem.indeterminate">, with no internal <lg type="quatrain">. This includes excerpts from drama, whether or not they include speakers, stage directions, etc. Although it may seem easy to identify such forms in many cases, our policy will be to avoid having to make any assumptions about the quotation’s original context, and to avoid introducing inconsistencies through inadequate information.

2. Use <lg type="poem.foo"> (where “foo” is the set of named forms: sonnet, etc.) for poems which are clearly a named form quoted in its entirety. Do not use the named form for a fragment, even if you know that the fragment is, for instance, the first six lines of a famous sonnet. The principle here is that the quotation is not itself a sonnet; it is only part of one.

3. Use <lg type="poem.stanzaic"> for quoted poems which have a regular stanzaic form exhibited within the quoted part, with internal white space delimiting individual line groups in their entirety. The internal line groups may be tagged with the appropriate <lg type="quatrain">, etc. This will only apply if there’s more than one repetition of the stanzaic form present in the quotation. As long as there are two or more full stanzas present, additional partial stanzas of the same kind can still be encoded with <lg type="quatrain">, <lg type="stanza">, etc.

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