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

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

4. Carolyn Kizer wrote a poem about man's abuse of which natural resource?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

2. Examine how Li-Young Lee uses the theme of anxiety in his poetry. Which poems are based on this theme? Discuss at least one of Lee's poems.

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

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. 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?

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

7. What themes are most often seen in Gary Snyder's work? What does Snyder credit with helping him focus on the inner world?

8. 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?

9. How does Michael S. Harper incorporate his heritage into his work? What was Harper's biggest influence? What themes commonly appear in his poetry? List some of Harper's poems that appear in this book.

10. 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.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

William Meredith and Robert Pinsky both believed that effective poetry could be created by focusing on ordinary things. However, those ordinary things were mixed with extraordinary language. Why is it important to use unusual words or a combination of words as a powerful tool to create vivid poetry? How do Meredith and Pinsky accomplish this task? Why are these tools and techniques valuable? What can be learned from employing these techniques in reference to topics that might otherwise seem mundane?

Essay Topic 2

In several of the works, the poets manage to create characters and evoke emotions through the use of monologue and/or dialogue. As such the poet requires the reader to experience a situation through the eyes of another, effectively creating or using another voice rather than one's own. Explain how this might be done. If you were going to create a poem written in this way, what voice would you choose to use? How would you achieve the transformation? Would it be easier or more difficult to choose a fictional character? Would it be easier or more difficult to write through the eyes of the opposite sex?

Essay Topic 3

Choose one of the following:

1.) What is the poetic form known as the epigram? Name a famous poem written in this form. Detail the form's structure, content, and requirements. What parts of the poem are open for creative license and interpretation? Write at least four distinct examples of an epigram, using four different topics.

2.) What is the poetic form known as the quatrain? In Marilyn Hacker's "The Ballad of Ladies Lost and Found," the poet used this form. Name at least three other famous poems written in this form. Detail the form's structure, content, and requirements. What parts of the poem are open for creative license and interpretation? Write at least one example of a quatrain, with a minimum of 30 lines.

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