GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Contexts of American Poetry

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

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Contexts Of American Poetry

Which of the following American poets is not known for work that decried the Vietnam War?

Possible Answers:

Robert Bly

Grace Paley

Hart Crane

Allen Ginsberg

Yusef Komunyakaa

Correct answer:

Hart Crane

Explanation:

Of these writers, only Hart Crane was not alive during the Vietnam War. He died in 1932, and the other poets on the list all protested the war in various ways. Some did so through membership in the American Writers Against the Vietnam War (of which Bly was a founder).

Example Question #22 : Contexts Of American Poetry

The author of the poems “Daddy” and “Lady Lazarus” (taken from her collection Ariel) was married to which British poet?

Possible Answers:

Ted Hughes

T. S. Eliot

Ezra Pound

W. B. Yeats

W. H. Auden

Correct answer:

Ted Hughes

Explanation:

The author of the poems in question is Sylvia Plath. She was married to British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes from 1956 until 1963, when she committed suicide. Her work is known for its preoccupation with mental illness and the mundane details of daily life.

Example Question #23 : Contexts Of American Poetry

Which of the following twentieth-century American poets did not frequently embrace untraditional forms or linguistic devices?

Possible Answers:

Gertrude Stein

John Ashbery

Hart Crane

William Carlos Williams

e e cummings

Correct answer:

Hart Crane

Explanation:

By process of elimination, we can rule out all the poets with experimental aspects to their work. William Carlos Williams embraced innovated forms, e e cummings eschewed traditional orthography, Gertrude Stein focused on sonic pattern to the near-exclusion of semantic meaningfulness, and John Ashbery employed avant-garde forms and syntax. This leaves Hart Crane, who embraced some aspects of Modernist poetry but typically followed the older tradition of lyric verse in his work.

Example Question #24 : Contexts Of American Poetry

Which African-American poet read work at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration?

Possible Answers:

Zora Neale Hurston

Amiri Baraka

Rita Dove

Gwendolyn Brooks

Maya Angelou

Correct answer:

Maya Angelou

Explanation:

This is Maya Angelou, the famous author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She read “On the Pulse of Morning” at Clinton’s 1993 inauguration ceremony.

Example Question #25 : Contexts Of American Poetry

Which of the following twentieth-century poets has not been a United States Poet Laureate?

Possible Answers:

Rita Dove

Natasha Trethewey

Philip Levine

Charles Bukowski

Joseph Brodsky

Correct answer:

Charles Bukowski

Explanation:

The only poet on this list who has not been the national Poet Laureate is Bukowski. Levine was Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2012, Trethewey was Poet Laureate from 2012 to 2014, Dove was Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995, and Brodsky was Poet Laureate from 1991 to 1992.

Example Question #10 : Contexts Of American Poetry After 1925

Which of the following poets could not be described as a nature poet?

Possible Answers:

Robert Hass

Allen Ginsberg

Robert Frost

Louise Glück

Gary Snyder

Correct answer:

Allen Ginsberg

Explanation:

Of these five, only Ginsberg does not write work that is routinely and overtly concerned with the natural world, environment, and ecology.

Example Question #26 : Contexts Of American Poetry

Which of the following poets is not considered a founding member of Confessional poetry?

Possible Answers:

Hilda Doolittle

Sylvia Plath

John Berryman

Anne Sexton

Robert Lowell

Correct answer:

Hilda Doolittle

Explanation:

Confessionalism, a poetic movement that focuses on individual, often intensely personal, experiences, typically examines issues of psychology, identity, mental illness, sexuality, and cultural taboos. Berryman, Lowell, Plath, and Sexton are all important Confessionalist poets, but Hilda Doolittle (often referred to as “H.D.”) is an Imagist poet.

Example Question #27 : Contexts Of American Poetry

Which of the following poets would not be considered an early or proto-Modernist?

Possible Answers:

Arthur Rimbaud

Emily Dickinson

Robert Frost

Walt Whitman

Edgar Allan Poe

Correct answer:

Edgar Allan Poe

Explanation:

Each of the following poets anticipated Modernism with their work: Emily Dickinson, with her experimental punctuation and brevity; Walt Whitman, with his revolutionary portrayals of identity and sexuality and his eschewal of strict meter; Robert Frost, with his clear, precise language and his crisp imagery; and Arthur Rimbaud, for his refusal to romanticize and his use of prose poetry. Poe, however, was a Gothic writer and not a proto-Modernist.

Example Question #28 : Contexts Of American Poetry

During what decade was Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth published?

Possible Answers:

1990s

1960s

1970s

1980s

2000s

Correct answer:

2000s

Explanation:

Given that this is Adrienne Rich’s penultimate poetry collection, it makes sense that it would have been published near the end of Rich’s life (1929-2012). Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth was published in 2007.

Example Question #14 : Contexts Of American Poetry After 1925

When was Meditations in an Emergency published?

Possible Answers:

1930s

1920s

1940s

1950s

1960s

Correct answer:

1950s

Explanation:

This collection was first published in 1957.

All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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