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. What was the name of the publication edited by Van Duyn?

2. Frank O'Hara studied at which university?

3. David Wagoner wrote a poem about which activity?

4. Elizabeth Bishop was raised by relatives in which major metropolitan area?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. 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.

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

3. 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?

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

5. Examine the unique style of Anthony Hecht as well as some of his professional experiences. Also list some of the poems written by Hecht and included in this book.

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

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. 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.

9. 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?

10. Describe Richard Hugo's work and possible influence on style and subject.

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

Politics is a common theme through the book. Why do you think poets would choose to write about politics and war in a format that was often related to love and other positive emotions? What issues are addressed in the poetry in the book? Who do you consider to be the most vocal political poet? Explain. What are the top three points the poets try to get across when discussing political matters in poetry? Give examples.

Essay Topic 3

Compare and contrast the opinions of one poet from each section. Choose poets that are the most unique or have views not shared by the others. You may reference outside sources for information as long as sources are cited.

(see the answer keys)

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