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. In what year was the position established?

2. David Wagoner's work was greatly influenced by which native American tribe?

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

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

5. in Creeley's "The Rescue," the poet describes which tragedy?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Howard Moss is best known for working with which iconic magazine? What is Moss' style? List some of the poems written by Moss and included in this book.

3. 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?

4. Give a brief overview of Robert Lowell's life and work as a poet. What were Lowell's main topics? Which techniques did he favor when writing poetry? Also list at least four of Lowell's poems.

5. 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?

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

7. What major theme was often used in James Wright's work? What major award did James Wright win for his work?

8. Examine briefly the life and work of Robert Hayden. How did Hayden attempt to break the color barrier? What are some of Hayden's poems included in this section?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Many of the poems contained in the book used dreams or the unconscious as a source of material for poetry. Examine the poems in the collection, and choose at least three to use as a reference. Which do you feel is most effective in its use of the unconscious as a tool? Explain. Is there a scientific connection between dreaming and the conscious? Could those concepts and images seen in dreaming be captured in a waking state? If so, how?

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

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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