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. From which university did Theodore Roethke graduate?

2. Richard Hugo taught at which university?

3. Which of the poets wrote a piece titled, "The Sheep Child?"

4. In which city was Robert Hayden born?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Discuss the poets listed in the first section. Examine at least one of the topics two or more of the poets have in common.

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

3. Examine Robert Duncan's childhood and how it affected his career.

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

6. 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?

7. 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.

8. Why is Robert Penn Warren considered to be one of the country's most famous poets? What position did Warren hold in the 1960s?

9. 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.

10. What is the purpose of the anthology? Who is involved? What are the criteria for the poets? How do these poets reflect the popularity and talent of twentieth century poets?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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