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. Which of the poets wrote a piece titled, "Frederick Douglass?"

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

3. Garrigue was influenced by which famous composer?

4. Which poet wrote "To the Harbormaster?"

5. Olson believed poetry should be written based on _____, not meter.

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

2. Discuss Amy Clampitt's early career. What are some of Clampitt's themes?

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

4. 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?

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 were some of the unusual jobs held by Robert Creeley? Who were Creelye's influenecs? How does Creeley feel about speaking to his readers?

7. What is Mary Oliver's style? How does Mary Oliver incorporate nature into her work? What unique gift does Oliver have as a poet?

8. Examine Yusef Komunyakaa's background and influences regarding his work.

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. 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

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

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 3

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?

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