Study Guide for Modern Poetry

Be able to match the poems to their poets.

Be able to match quotes to the works they are from.

What is the general tone of the modern poets?

Why is Robinson considered a transitional poet to the modern era?
Combined traditional forms with modern themes (blank verse, rhymed quatrains, sonnet)

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List the three ways Robinson often presented his characters.

Know how these 3 ways applies to the poems we studied.

1. as character sees himself2. as society sees him3. as poet/narrator sees him

What is the theme of “Miniver Cheevy”?
life is disappointing, live in present

Explain the irony of “Miniver Cheevy.”
Cheevy thinks that his circumstances are what makes his dream impossible when it’s really his own weakness

In “Richard Cory,” who is the reader supposed to identify with?
“we people on the pavement”

What makes the end of the poem “Richard Cory” so surprising?
Cory is a failure in his own eyes but not in society’s

Describe Richard Cory and Miniver Cheevy.
Cory = has everything a man would want yet sees himself as a failureCheevy = failure to everyone yet sees himself as good potential if he had better circumstances

What are the elements of Frost’s poetic style?
realism, didacticism, focus on man

What tone does the title “The Road Not Taken” imply?
regret, sadness

What symbolizes temptation in “Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening”? Explain your answer.
the woods symbolize temptation to quit: circumstances are already comfortable enough that the temptation to stop working is prevalent

What are the two philosophies mentioned in “Mending Wall”?

Wall is a good thing and constantly needs repair2. Wall is bad and prevents good friendship

What other issues are in conflict in “Mending Wall”?

Of the poets we read, which two represent the imagist movement?
Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams

What are the six imagist tenets commonly applied to famous imagist poetry?
1. common speech2. free verse3. freedom in choice of subject4.

pictures through images5. hard clear poetry6. fewest words possible

What effect is Cummings trying to achieve by scattering words in his poem “rpophessagr”?
the movement of a grasshopper

In his poem about loneliness, why does Cummings write it in such a strange shape?
to give a feel of a leaf falling

What is the theme of “anyone lived in a pretty how town”?

Who do anyone and noone represent in “anyone lived in a pretty how town”?
man and woman (husband and wife)

Why does Cummings repeat the seasons and the weather several times throughout “anyone lived in a pretty how town”?
passage of time

What are the problems in “Chicago”? The strengths?
crooked, brutal, wicked; proud to be alive, strong-willed, laugh at hardship, cunning, activity, tough

What is the theme of “Chicago”?
Chicago is intensely and wildly filled with life

What are the poetic elements of “Chicago”?
free verse, slang, uninhibited with content, patterns & repitition

What are several things Sandburg compares Chicago to?
dog, fighter

What is the tone of the poem “Chicago”?
pride in city

What does Sandburg compare fog to in his poem “Fog”?

Know details of authors’ lives.
you got it, Chris!

Match quotes to works and works to authors.
okay, Chris!

What type of sonnet is “Sonnet 26”?

Describe the progression of thought from the beginning to the end of Sonnet 26.
person loved is not beautiful, but beauty is unimportant when you love

What is the message of “Sonnet 26”? What conclusion does the poet reach?
Love does not rely on beauty; speaker knows

In “Dirge Without Music” and “Time Does Not Bring Relief,” how does the speaker deal with the death of loved ones?
mourning the loss, longing for the dead; has not fully recovered yet

How is the ending of “Time Does Not Bring Relief” ironic?
impossible to escape the memory of her loved one: she thinks of him where he has been and thinks of him where he hasn’t been

Define satire.
corrective ridicule in literature

Define burlesque.
form of satire that makes subject appear ridiculous, make ridiculous seem loft or vice versa

What might the title of the poem “The Unknown Citizen” be an allusion to?

What is Auden critiquing in the poem “The Unknown Citizen”?
standardization and modern state’s relationship with citizens

Why is the poem titled “The Unknown Citizen” when so many details are given about him?
unknown about the man’s personality or opinions

Explain the last two lines of “The Unknown Citizen.

” What do they reveal about the state?

the state believes they know everything they could know about a citizen

Describe what the state in “The Unknown Citizen” uses to measure life.
their actions recorded by the government

Describe the progression of the woman’s understanding of religion and spirituality in “Sunday Morning.”
supposedly ignorant to more enlightened

According to “Sunday Morning,” where and in what can man find truth and solace?

In “Sunday Morning,” explain what the line “Death is the mother of beauty” signifies.
Death is what makes nature so beautiful – constant change

What are the 3 voices of poetry and which does Eliot choose to use in “Journey of the Magi”?
1. poet talking to self2. poet talking to audience3. poet speaking through another character

What does each of the three sections of “Journey of the Magi” describe?

difficulties of journey2. allusions (3 trees = 3 crosses, white horse, lintel = angel of death and the doors, empty wineskins)

In “Journey of the Magi,” how is Eliot’s portrayal of the journey non-traditional?
displays hardships from the perspective of the magi

In “Journey of the Magi,” what is significant about the allusions in the second section?
all relate to the bible?

How is Christ’s birth like death for the magi? Explain.
they will never be content with their previous lives, death of their spiritually-ignorant lifestyle

Edwin Arlington Robinson
Miniver Cheevy, Richard Cory

Edna St. Vincent Millay
Sonnet 26, Dirge Without Music, Time Does Not Bring Relief You All Have Lied

W.H. Auden
The Unknown Citizen

Ezra Pound
a bunch of imagist poems

William Carlos Williams
a bunch of imagist poems

Carl Sandburg


E. Cummings

rpophessagr, l(a, anyone lived in a pretty how town

Wallace Stevens
Sunday Morning, 13 Ways Of Looking At A Blackbird

T.S. Eliot
Journey of the Magi

Robert Frost
The Road Not Taken, Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening, Mending Wall, Death of the Hired Man

Langston Hughes
I Too Sing America, Harlem

James Weldon Johnson
Go Down Death, Judgement Day