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

J. D. Mcclatchy
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 136 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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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

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 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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