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. Robert Penn Warren is said to have written poetry in a _____ style.

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

3. Ammons favored which style?

4. Olson believed poetry should be written based on _____, not meter.

5. Which of the following was not a job held by Wilbur?

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

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

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

7. 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?

8. Which major award was won by W. D. Snodgrass? How might Snodgrass' poems be described?

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

10. Discuss some of Denise Levertov's themes as well as potential influences on her work and her life.

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

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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