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. "Mule Team and Poster" was based on a photograph taken by which of the following?

2. Charles Olson refers to himself as which of the following?

3. Mary Swenson received a degree in which discipline?

4. Which was not one of Cunningham's jobs?

5. David Wagoner wrote a poem about which activity?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

4. What is unique about Charles Olson's work? What did Olson do to prepare to write about a particular place or era? How did Olson believe work should be paced?

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

6. What was Allen Ginsberg's first major success? What made Ginsberg into an iconic poet?

7. 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?

8. Discuss some of David Wagoner's influences and inspirations. How is Wagoner's work characterized?

9. 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.

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

Politics is a common theme through the book. Why do you think poets would choose to write about politics and war in a format that was often related to love and other positive emotions? What issues are addressed in the poetry in the book? Who do you consider to be the most vocal political poet? Explain. What are the top three points the poets try to get across when discussing political matters in poetry? Give examples.

Essay Topic 3

At the beginning of the book, McClatchy discusses the drastic changes in poetry before and after World War II. What are McClatchy's opinions on the drastic change of the art form? What does McClatchy use to support his statements and opinions? What was the biggest change in poetry after World War II? Why was poetry in decline when the new poets were putting forth new and innovative ideas and styles? Do you think this group of poets would have surfaced if the war had not taken place? Explain.

(see the answer keys)

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