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

J. D. Mcclatchy
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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

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

Short Answer Questions

1. Merrill moved back to the US in which year?

2. John Ashbery lived in which European city?

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

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

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What were some of the unusual jobs held by Robert Creeley? Who were Creelye's influenecs? How does Creeley feel about speaking to his readers?

2. Examine the theme and meaning contained in Rita Dove's "Adolescence - II." How does the theme link to Dove's other work?

3. 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?

4. What is Mary Oliver's style? How does Mary Oliver incorporate nature into her work? What unique gift does Oliver have as a poet?

5. Who was the biggest influence in Sylvia Plath's life? When did they meet? What type of work is most often related to Plath? Plath is often grouped with which poets?

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

7. How did Audre Lorde often identify herself? Where was Lorde born? What was Lorde's style?

8. 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?

9. Discuss Amy Clampitt's early career. What are some of Clampitt's themes?

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

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.

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.

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.

(see the answer keys)

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