The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

J. D. Mcclatchy
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Which poet cites Auden and Frost as his influences?

2. What was A.R. Ammons field of study in college?

3. Which of the poets wrote a piece titled, "The Sheep Child?"

4. Richard Hugo taught at which university?

5. Meredith served in which branch of the armed forces?

Short Essay Questions

1. Give a brief description of Jean Garrigue's life and work.

2. Give a brief overview of Robert Lowell's life and work as a poet. What were Lowell's main topics? Which techniques did he favor when writing poetry? Also list at least four of Lowell's poems.

3. Briefly describe the work of May Swenson. List some of Swenson's works included in the book.

4. Discuss some of David Wagoner's influences and inspirations. How is Wagoner's work characterized?

5. Discuss some of Denise Levertov's themes as well as potential influences on her work and her life.

6. Describe William Meredith's work and his main focus. Also list some of the poems included in his section.

7. What other career did A.R. Ammons have while writing poetry on the side? What were some of Ammon's influences outside the literary realm? What are some styles used by Ammons?

8. Examine Robert Duncan's childhood and how it affected his career.

9. What prestigious position did Carolyn Kizer hold? Who greatly influenced Kizer's work? What major award did Kizer receive?

10. Examine briefly the life and work of Robert Hayden. How did Hayden attempt to break the color barrier? What are some of Hayden's poems included in this section?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

There are several places in the book that refer to having an argument with self or warring with making a decision or opinion about a specific item or event. Choose one of the following:

1. Write a series of poems featuring the two sides of self involved in an ethical dilemma. Be sure to represent each side equally.

2. Write a series of poems from the perspective of a person with a personality or mental disorder, such as the ones suffered by Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton.

Essay Topic 2

At the beginning of the book, McClatchy discusses the drastic changes in poetry before and after World War II. What are McClatchy's opinions on the drastic change of the art form? What does McClatchy use to support his statements and opinions? What was the biggest change in poetry after World War II? Why was poetry in decline when the new poets were putting forth new and innovative ideas and styles? Do you think this group of poets would have surfaced if the war had not taken place? Explain.

Essay Topic 3

Many people appreciate epigrams because of their brevity. Many are also humorous. Which of the poets is best known for writing epigrams? What is your opinion on the epigram? Compare and contrast the epigram to at least three other styles of poetry, e.g., haiku.

(see the answer keys)

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