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. According to the text, the best English language literature was produced in which century?

2. W.D. Snodgrass served in which branch of the armed forces?

3. Which one of the poets worked as a consultant to the Library of Congress?

4. At the same time, Frank O'Hara also mourned the death of which musician?

5. John Ashbery lived in which European city?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is unusual about Donald Justice's poetry? What does he encourage the reader to see in his work?

2. 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?

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

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

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

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

7. What major theme was often used in James Wright's work? What major award did James Wright win for his work?

8. 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?

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

10. What is unusual about W.S. Merwin's choice of career? What are some of the main topics and/or themes often used by Merwin?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In several of the works, the poets manage to create characters and evoke emotions through the use of monologue and/or dialogue. As such the poet requires the reader to experience a situation through the eyes of another, effectively creating or using another voice rather than one's own. Explain how this might be done. If you were going to create a poem written in this way, what voice would you choose to use? How would you achieve the transformation? Would it be easier or more difficult to choose a fictional character? Would it be easier or more difficult to write through the eyes of the opposite sex?

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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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