GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Identification of American Poetry After 1925

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Subject Test: Literature in English

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All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

1 Diagnostic Test 158 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept

Example Questions

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Example Question #35 : Identification

The author of the poem "Sylvia's Death" is __________.

Possible Answers:

Marianne Moore

Robert Lowell

Anne Sexton

Ted Hughes

Adrienne Rich

Correct answer:

Anne Sexton

Explanation:

Anne Sexton's poem "Sylvia's Death" deals with the death of fellow poet Sylvia Plath.

Example Question #36 : Identification

The author of the poem "We Real Cool" is __________.

Possible Answers:

William Carlos Williams

Gwendolyn Brooks

Langston Hughes

Maya Angelou

Leroi Jones

Correct answer:

Gwendolyn Brooks

Explanation:

The poem is by Gwendolyn Brooks, who was the first African American poet to win the Pulitzer Prize. Brooks experimented with poetic form throughout her career, but her poetry is often concerned with the urban poor of the area of Chicago in which she lived for much of her life. This poem is a favorite of the Lit GRE's and it is extremely short, so you should make it a point to be able to recognize it on first sight.

Example Question #1 : Identification Of American Poetry After 1925

Which American poet was known for a playful use of language, a lack of standard orthography, a latent transcendentalism, and titles such as “i carry your heart with me (i carry it in” and “anyone lived in a pretty how town”?

Possible Answers:

Adrienne Rich

e. e. cummings

Gertrude Stein

Allen Ginsberg

William Carlos Williams

Correct answer:

e. e. cummings

Explanation:

The poet described is Edward Estlin Cummings, usually known as e. e. cummings. In addition to his poetry, Cummings was known for his paintings, plays, novels and essays.

Example Question #38 : Identification

This American poet was heralded as the leader of the Beats and had his epic poem “Howl” subjected to an obscenity trial in the 1950s.

Possible Answers:

e. e. cummings

William Carlos Williams

Adrienne Rich

Allen Ginsberg

Gertrude Stein

Correct answer:

Allen Ginsberg

Explanation:

The poet in question is Allen Ginsberg, a leading figure in the counterculture movement. His most famous work, “Howl,” gave voice to previously unheard minorities and spoke against war, materialism, consumerism, homophobia, and various forms of repression. Its opening lines are frequently quoted, although “Howl” was often censored because of its depictions of homosexual and heterosexual sex acts.

Example Question #39 : Identification

This poet was known for her semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar as well as her collection of poetry, Ariel. Some of her best-known poems include “Daddy,” “Lady Lazarus,” and “Mad Girl’s Love Song.” Who is she?

Possible Answers:

Gwendolyn Brooks

Marianne Moore

Adrienne Rich

Sylvia Plath

Gertrude Stein

Correct answer:

Sylvia Plath

Explanation:

The poet is Sylvia Plath, wife of the British poet Ted Hughes and an important figure in the genre of confessional poetry. Plath’s work is marked by body- and nature-based imagery, depictions of mental illness, and seemingly mundane details from everyday life.

Example Question #40 : Identification

“Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” is a famous poem by which author?

Possible Answers:

Wallace Stevens

Gertrude Stein

William Carlos Williams

Ted Hughes

Langston Hughes

Correct answer:

Wallace Stevens

Explanation:

The poem, broken into 13 fractured, imagistic sections, was written by American poet Wallace Stevens. Stevens was a leading figure in the American modernist poetry world, and in 1955 he won a Pulitzer for his work. Stevens’ work is marked by a preoccupation with intellectual themes and ideas about human consciousness. Some of his best-known poems include “The Emperor of Ice Cream,” “Anecdote of the Jar,” “The Idea of Order at Key West,” and “Sunday Morning,” as well as “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”

Example Question #2 : Identification Of American Poetry After 1925

This expatriate American wrote poems distinguished by their repetition, attention to sound, and ostensible incomprehensibility. This poet's writing, which includes books such as Tender Buttons and The Making of Americans, often received critical acclaim but not popular attention. Who is the poet?

Possible Answers:

William Carlos Williams

Anne Sexton

Marianne Moore

Langston Hughes

Gertrude Stein

Correct answer:

Gertrude Stein

Explanation:

Gertrude Stein is famous for her hosting of salons in Paris, where she lived with her partner Alice B. Toklas until her death in the 1940s. These salons helped support the careers of painters as renowned as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, and Stein herself collected many valuable pieces of artwork. Her poetry attempts to destroy the linear, logical narratives that were the dominant form of writing at the time and create a modern, fragmentary, and sometimes incomprehensible verse.

Example Question #3 : Identification Of American Poetry After 1925

This modernist, imagist poet wrote works including “The Red Wheelbarrow” and “Spring and All.”

Possible Answers:

William Carlos Williams

John Dos Passos

Anne Sexton

Langston Hughes

Gertrude Stein

Correct answer:

William Carlos Williams

Explanation:

William Carlos Williams, a medical doctor as well as a poet, was known for experimental works such as “To Elsie” and the poems mentioned in the question stem. Although his vision for modern poetry differed greatly from the views of T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and other literary giants, Williams found like-minded creators in “The Others,” a group of early twentieth-century New York artists and writers.

Example Question #4 : Identification Of American Poetry After 1925

Which poet was the author of “We Real Cool” and was the first black American to win a Pulitzer Prize?

Possible Answers:

Maya Angelou

Langston Hughes

Gwendolyn Brooks

Richard Wright

Nina Simone

Correct answer:

Gwendolyn Brooks

Explanation:

Gwendolyn Brooks’ poetry, which also includes titles such as “The Bean Eaters,” “Sadie and Maud,” “The Crazy Woman,” and “Speech to the Young,” drew on her experiences living in inner-city Chicago and was diverse in style, incorporating everything from sonnets to blues to free verse. Brooks, an important figure in twentieth-century African-American literature, served as the Poet Laureate of Illinois for many years.

Example Question #5 : Identification Of American Poetry After 1925

A leader of the Harlem Renaissance, this poet wrote “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and “Montage of a Dream Deferred.”

Possible Answers:

Langston Hughes

Maya Angelou

Rita Dove

Richard Wright

Amiri Baraka

Correct answer:

Langston Hughes

Explanation:

Langston Hughes wore many hats, including poet, novelist, playwright, and social justice advocate. He was an early innovator of the genre known as “jazz poetry,” which incorporates blues- and jazz-inspired rhythms and a sense of linguistic improvisation.

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All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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