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. Which of the poets wrote a piece titled, "The Sheep Child?"

2. Richard Hugo grew up in which western US city?

3. Garrigue was influenced by which famous composer?

4. Which of the poets had a Hasidic Russian rabbi for a father?

5. "The Day Lady Died" refers to which of the following women?

Short Essay Questions

1. Where was Charles Simic born? How did his youth affect his poetry? What themes are often seen in Simic's work? What technique is often used by Simic?

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

3. 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?

4. 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?

5. Discuss Michael S. Palmer's poem "H." what is the main theme of the poem? Does the reader get a clear vision of Palmer's insight? What might the poem mean?

6. 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?

7. 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.

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

9. 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?

10. What unique gift is expressed in Philip Levine's work? What prompted this style and choice of theme? What are some of Levine's poems included in his section?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Allen Ginsberg was a leading force in the poetic movement of the 1950s. Ginsberg, along with fellow poets Jack Kerouac, William Carlos Williams and Neal Cassady, formed the iconic Beat Generation. Write a 1,000 word essay on Ginsberg's ground breaking work and the formation of the Beat Generation. Also cite the change in the poetic movement due to the Beat Generation and how it evolved in the 1960s.

Essay Topic 2

W.S. Merwin is one of the poets that patterned his work after the traditional and classic English romantic poetry. Examine in detail the concept and technique involved in writing traditional and classic English romantic poetry. What other poets have followed this format? Why did some poets shy away from or completely distance themselves from this type of poetry? Write a 500 word essay on English romantic poetry. Also include five poems that best represent the style.

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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