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

2. Schuyler compares poetry to which of the following?

3. What word is best used to describe Robert Lowell?

4. "Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg" discusses what type of mine?

5. James Dickey claims his life was changed after spending a year in which European country?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Discuss the poets listed in the first section. Examine at least one of the topics two or more of the poets have in common.

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

5. 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.

6. 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?

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

8. 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?

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

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Although there are common threads between the poets included in this anthology, the poetry in this book varies widely in regards to scope, theme and style. Choose at least five different styles, themes, techniques to examine. Also make note of the use of formal language versus slang or contemporary language. Plot each of the fifteen poems to explain your points and references.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Michael Palmer is considered to be one of the Language Poets. Explain Palmer's beliefs regarding the proper use of language in regards to his own poetry and the poetry of beginning poets. How might preconceived notions of language interfere with a poet's work? Do you agree think that preconceived notions of language can be a hindrance? Are the preconceptions more or less difficult when working with a foreign language as opposed to English? How can one overcome these preconceived notions and habits? Give an example of at least three words that may conjure up preconceived notions and create an alternative view for each.

(see the answer keys)

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