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 which year was Van Duyn appointed as the Poet Laureate?

2. Justice writes a poem about a lone reader waiting in a _____ at dusk.

3. Allen Ginsberg is closely affiliated with which poetic movement?

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

5. Richard Hugo taught at which university?

Short Essay Questions

1. Examine the unique style of Anthony Hecht as well as some of his professional experiences. Also list some of the poems written by Hecht and included in this book.

2. 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?

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

4. 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?

5. 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?

6. 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?

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

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

9. Briefly describe the work of May Swenson. List some of Swenson's works included in the book.

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Although there are common threads between the poets included in this anthology, the poetry in this book varies widely in regards to scope, theme and style. Choose at least five different styles, themes, techniques to examine. Also make note of the use of formal language versus slang or contemporary language. Plot each of the fifteen poems to explain your points and references.

Essay Topic 2

Discuss juxtaposition and how it might help or hinder a poet's work. How does one choose the appropriate items or subjects to juxtapose? Write two poems - one with effective juxtaposition and one where the juxtaposition fails to make the poem interesting, distinct, or understood. Also examine at least one of the poems included by Allen Ginsberg and Charles Simic to better understand the use of juxtaposition.

Essay Topic 3

David Wagoner, James Merrill, John Berryman and Richard Wilbur are all noted for their skill in writing lyric poetry. What is lyric poetry? How does writing lyric poetry differ from writing song lyrics? What is the format and technique of writing lyric poetry? What is the value of lyric poetry? Compare and contrast one poem from each poet to determine the best case of lyric poetry. Also compare the work of these poets to the work of famed lyric poet W. B. Yeats.

(see the answer keys)

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