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Of Modern Poetry

Of Modern Poetry


by Wallace Stevens

Of Modern Poetry: What's Modern Poetry Again? Quiz

Think you’ve got your head wrapped around Of Modern Poetry? Put your knowledge to the test. Good luck — the Stickman is counting on you!
Q. Judging by Stevens' poem, modern poetry's most important role is to

Make the old new again
Challenge readers with experimental new forms
Literally construct a theatre and fill it with a happy audience
Help readers find spiritual satisfaction
Q. Why does modern poetry have to "face the men of the time and to meet/ The women of the time"?

Because Stevens liked to fight with men and have conversations with women
Because poetry needs to speak to the people of its time
Because poetry should be about gossip and sexual scandals
Because great poetry is timeless and unchanging
Q. What does Stevens mean when he says that modern poetry should be "The poem of the act of the mind"?

It should describe the ways that our minds find meaning in the world
It should only talk about abstract thoughts
It should reflect how intelligent the poet is
It should focus on performing more than telling the truth
Q. Why will modern poetry not "descend" below the human mind or "rise" above it?

Because it's not concerned with material objects or God; just the mind
Because everything except the human mind is disgusting
Because God's a superstition and we don't know if the material world exists
Because modern poetry can't be too low-brow or high-brow
Q. Why did classical poetry not have to do the things modern poetry does?

Because classic poetry wasn't obsessed with being new or fresh
Because classic poets were happy to be just like everyone else
Because classic beauty is timeless
Because classic forms had been used forever, and people were happy with them