CLEP Humanities : Understanding Terminology That Describes Twentieth-Century Poetry

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for CLEP Humanities

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Poetry

Call the roller of big cigars,

The muscular one, and bid him whip

In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.

Let the wenches dawdle in such dress

As they are used to wear, and let the boys

Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.

Let be be finale of seem.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

 

Take from the dresser of deal,

Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet

On which she embroidered fantails once

And spread it so as to cover her face.

If her horny feet protrude, they come

To show how cold she is, and dumb.

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

 

(1922)

In the third line of the above poem, what poetic device is used?

Possible Answers:

Feminine rhyme

Internal rhyme

Assonance

Onomatopoeia

Alliteration

Correct answer:

Alliteration

Explanation:

The third line reads "In kitchen cups concupiscent curds," featuring the hard "c" sound at the beginning of four words. Such repetition of one sound at the beginning of words in one sentence or phrase is known as "alliteration."

(Passage adapted from "The Emperor of Ice-Cream" by Wallace Stevens.)

Example Question #2 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Poetry

Which of the following writers is NOT a modernist poet?

Possible Answers:

Wallace Stevens

E. E. Cummings

T. S. Eliot

Ezra Pound

William Wordsworth

Correct answer:

William Wordsworth

Explanation:

Modernism was a movement that spread through many different forms of art in the last decade of the nineteenth century. Modernism rejected what the artists saw as outdated modes. In poetry, the movement was summed up by Ezra Pound's advice to "Make it new!" and Wallace Stevens' use of blank verse, along with T. S. Eliot's writing lengthy epics of mundane life, and E.E. Cummings' reshaping the physical look of poetry. Many modernists were intentionally rejecting the romantic poets like William Wordsworth.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Poetry

Which modernist poet is famous for his admonition to "Make it new?"

Possible Answers:

Wallace Stevens

James Joyce

T.S. Eliot

Ezra Pound

William Carlos Williams

Correct answer:

Ezra Pound

Explanation:

Ezra Pound was an American who made his career in literature in England in the years before World War I, both in his own work and by helping edit and encourage many other poets. His motto was "Make it new," encouraging his fellow poets to create new forms, new modes of descriptions, and new concepts. Pound was a controversial figure, alienating those close to him in his personal life and finding an enthusiasm for Fascism in the 1930s.

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