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. Who wrote the poem titled, "Onions?"

2. In which year did Anne Sexton die?

3. Philip Levine was greatly impacted by which war?

4. Harper was born in which city?

5. Which of the poets was born in the south but uses a northern perspective?

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. 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?

3. What type of work did Richard Howard produce? Examine Richard Howard's fascination with the figures of 19th century high society. Also list some of the poems contained in his section.

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

6. 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?

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. How does Ellen Bryant Voigt compare poetry to music? Why does Voigt make this comparison? In which part of the poem is the comparison most evident?

9. How is Sharon Olds categorized as a poet? What words are best used to describe Olds' work? What are some of Olds' most common themes?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare and contrast the opinions of one poet from each section. Choose poets that are the most unique or have views not shared by the others. You may reference outside sources for information as long as sources are cited. Use at least one passage from each poet's work to support your opinion and/or argument.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Compare and contrast the opinions of one poet from each section. Choose poets that are the most unique or have views not shared by the others. You may reference outside sources for information as long as sources are cited.

(see the answer keys)

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