The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry Test | Final 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. Marilyn Hacker previously worked as a salesperson. Which item did Hacker sell?

2. What famous poet first inspired Charles Wright?

3. Which of the following words is not used to describe Wright's work?

4. Michael Harper wrote a poem dedicated to which famous musician?

5. Jay Wright honored famed black scientist _______ in his work.

Short Essay Questions

1. What unique gift is expressed in Philip Levine's work? What prompted this style and choice of theme? What are some of Levine's poems included in his section?

2. Examine the theme of acceptance and the passing of time as it appears in Jorie Graham's work.

3. Dave Smith's work has been compared to which famous poets? Discuss Smith's earlier poems and the evolution of his work.

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. What prompted Anne Sexton to begin writing poetry? What was Sexton's style? What are some characteristics of Sexton's style?

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

7. Where was Charles Simic born? How did his youth affect his poetry? What themes are often seen in Simic's work? What technique is often used by Simic?

8. Who is Robert Pinsky's main influence? What is Robert Pinsky's goal regarding his poetry? What topic most interests Pinsky? How does Pinsky get his point across?

9. 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?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

W.S. Merwin is one of the poets that patterned his work after the traditional and classic English romantic poetry. Examine in detail the concept and technique involved in writing traditional and classic English romantic poetry. What other poets have followed this format? Why did some poets shy away from or completely distance themselves from this type of poetry? Write a 500 word essay on English romantic poetry. Also include five poems that best represent the style.

Essay Topic 3

Many people appreciate epigrams because of their brevity. Many are also humorous. Which of the poets is best known for writing epigrams? What is your opinion on the epigram? Compare and contrast the epigram to at least three other styles of poetry, e.g., haiku.

(see the answer keys)

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