Readers of this column know that every now and then I like to throw a little poetry pop quiz into the mix. See how you do with the following questions (answers are at the bottom—NO CHEATING!):
Name the poet who aside from his best-selling children’s poetry books wrote a song made famous by Johnny Cash called “A Boy Named Sue” (hint: He also illustrated his own books).
Name the poet who was born “Marguerite Johnson” and wrote a best-selling memoir about her difficult childhood called I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (hint: She has appeared often on her friend’s TV show—Oprah Winfrey).
Name the poet from Lebanon who wrote mystical books of poetic philosophy, one of them, The Prophet, to this day a record-breaking volume with millions sold (hint: His initials are KG)
Name the Welsh poet who wrote the famous, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Goodnight”(hint: He died from drinking 18 straight shots of whiskey in one sitting at a bar).
Name the poet who only had seven poems published during her lifetime, rarely left her house, and whose favorite punctuation mark was the dash (hint: She said that hope “is the thing with feathers”).
Name the poet who won four Pulitzer Prizes and read a poem at John F. Kennedy’s presidential inaugurations (hint: He also was a farmer and his last name can kill plants).
Name the glamorous poet who worked as a model and began writing poetry at the suggestion of her psychiatrist as a way of coming to terms with her turbulent inner life (hint: Her most famous poems delved into the world of fairy tales).
Name the English poet who, at eighteen, married a woman eight years his senior, who died on his birthday, who has a kind of sonnet named after him, and who is widely considered the most famous person in all of literary history (no hint needed for this one!).
Name the poet who wrote a memoir called The Bell Jar, and who took her own life at the age of thirty by sticking her head in an oven (hint: Her husband was the famous British poet, Ted Hughes).
Name the blind Greek poet who wrote an epic about the Trojan War in which the hero blinds a one-eyed monster called The Cyclops (hint: This poet’s name is also a baseball term).
OK. If you got most of these correct, hats off to you. If you got all of them, you are officially a poetry wiz. If you failed miserably, don’t fret, just hit the books. And if you cheated and peeked at the answers below, shame and curses on you—you will have to live with your own riddled conscience. Thanks for playing, and have a poetic day!
[Answers: 1.Shel Silverstein 2.Maya Angelou 3.Khalil Gibran 4.Dylan Thomas 5.Emily Dickinson 6.Robert Frost 7.Anne Sexton 8.Shakespeare 9.Sylvia Plath 10.Homer]
Address poem submissions and correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org or Neil Carpathios, Shawnee State University, Dept. of English & Humanities, 940 Second Street, Portsmouth, OH 45662. (740-351-3478).