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

J. D. Mcclatchy
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 119 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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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 wrote "To the Harbormaster?"

2. Which of the following was not one of Robert Creeley's jobs?

3. Which of the poets was a high school football star?

4. Which poet was greatly influenced by William Butler Yeats and W.H. Auden?

5. Where is the Jain Bird Hospital located?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Discuss the wide variety of jobs held by Richard Wilbur. Also discuss Wilbur's style and the poems in which the style is exhibited in this collection.

3. What is unique about Charles Olson's work? What did Olson do to prepare to write about a particular place or era? How did Olson believe work should be paced?

4. Discuss the varied activities of James Dickey and the one thing that supposedly changed his life. What are some of the themes involved in Dickey's work?

5. Howard Moss is best known for working with which iconic magazine? What is Moss' style? List some of the poems written by Moss and included in this book.

6. What was Allen Ginsberg's first major success? What made Ginsberg into an iconic poet?

7. Name at least one of the main themes that can be seen in James Merrill's work. What is Merrill's genre? List some of the poems included in Merrill's section.

8. Give a brief overview of John Berryman's life. Also note Berryman's influences, style, and common topics covered in his work. How did critics review Berryman's work?

9. Why is Robert Penn Warren considered to be one of the country's most famous poets? What position did Warren hold in the 1960s?

10. What contributions did Mona Van Duyn make to the literary world? What was Van Duyn's biggest accomplishment?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss juxtaposition and how it might help or hinder a poet's work. How does one choose the appropriate items or subjects to juxtapose? Write two poems - one with effective juxtaposition and one where the juxtaposition fails to make the poem interesting, distinct, or understood. Also examine at least one of the poems included by Allen Ginsberg and Charles Simic to better understand the use of juxtaposition.

Essay Topic 2

Morals and shared values are a common theme throughout the book. For example, Amy Clampitt uses morality is a chief theme and Ellen Bryant Voigt's poems are referred to as being "moralistic." Examine how the poets use their work to share their ideas on morality. Do you think the poets simply want to express their opinions on certain moral issues or are they trying to impose moral beliefs on the reader? Choose one poem each from Clampitt and Voigt to support your opinions and insights.

Essay Topic 3

Jay Wright, Michael S. Harper and Allen Ginsberg are just three of the poets that used their work to support a particular culture. Wright and Harper wrote poems dedicated to black culture, while Ginsberg was focused on being part of the counterculture of America during the 1950s and beyond. Write a 750 word essay on how using poetry to reveal and/or celebrate cultural differences may be an effective way to teach the general public about that specific culture. Also discuss how using poetry in this way might have a negative effect.

(see the answer keys)

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