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. Which word is best used to describe the work of Sandra McPherson?

2. In which year did Anne Sexton die?

3. Which of the following was not one of the jobs held by Gary Snyder?

4. Michael Harper was greatly influenced by which type of music?

5. Gary Snyder referred to himself as having very ____ values.

Short Essay Questions

1. Examine Kay Ryan's opinion on inevitable change. What point is Ryan attempting to make?

2. What themes are most often seen in Gary Snyder's work? What does Snyder credit with helping him focus on the inner world?

3. Discuss Michael S. Palmer's poem "H." what is the main theme of the poem? Does the reader get a clear vision of Palmer's insight? What might the poem mean?

4. What first inspired Charles Wright to write poetry? Where was Wright at the time? How can Wright's early work be characterized? How did Charles Wright's work evolve?

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

6. Discuss the rhyme and tone of "Ballad of Ladies Lost and Found." Who are some of the people mentioned in the poem? What is the rhyme scheme? What form does Hacker use in this poem?

7. List some of Robert Hass' jobs outside of poetry. What topics and/or themes are most common in Hass' work? Who were Hass' influences?

8. In which regions and countries did Irving Feldman live? What are some of the characteristics of Feldman's work? Name three people that appear in Feldman's poetry.

9. Heather McHugh's poem, "The Typewriter's the Kind," tells the story of a writer sitting in front of a type writer. Discuss the meaning of the poem and which passage best describes what McHugh is feeling about her work.

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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