Famous Poets Quiz

Estimated Completion Time
3 min
Famous Poets Quiz
Image: Mat Denney/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Their powerful prose made lasting statements, both personal and political. How much do you know about these famous poets?
"The Negro Speaks of Rivers" was written by which poet?
Langston Hughes
The Missouri native often composed poems about being black in America.
Alice Walker
Maya Angelou

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Which person wrote poetry and also worked for the Chicago Daily News?
Allen Ginsburg
Carl Sandburg
He also created a series of children's tales called the "Rootabaga Stories".
Gary Soto

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Who wrote a book of poems called "Live or Die"?
Alexander Pushkin
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Anne Sexton
Her poems touched on many troubling themes, and she committed suicide at age 45.

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How old was Emily Dickinson when she died?
27
56
She lived in isolation and is now regarded as one of the best poets in history.
37

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Other than poetry, what passion did Emily Dickinson pursue?
botany
She spent much of her time caring for a variety of plants.
astrology
scientology

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In what year was William Shakespeare born?
1703
1611
1564
He died hundreds of years ago but remains one of the most influential writers in human history.

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Which poem was the first written by Robert Frost?
"The Tufts of Flowers"
"The Gift Outright"
"My Butterfly: An Elegy"
Many of his poems touch on the struggles and joys of rural life.

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Shel Silverstein was a poet who may have been best known for which genre?
children's books
He also wrote famous pop songs and made a name for himself as a screenwriter.
sculpture
poster art

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Why was e.e. cummings forced to self-publish many of his poems?
He distrusted publishing companies.
He used weird punctuation and grammar.
His signature (intentional) fractured style was off-putting to many publishing companies.
No one liked any of his work.

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Who wrote "Sense and Sensibility" in addition to many poems?
Jane Austen
She's better known for her novels but she composed plenty of poetry, too.
Lord Byron
Lewis Carroll

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Which poet was one of the leaders of the Romantic Movement?
Pablo Neruda
Walt Whitman
William Wordsworth
He is best known for a poem called "The Prelude."

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How old was Elizabeth Barrett Browning when she began writing poetry?
6
Even as a child she showed tremendous promise, and she became a literary star in Europe.
8
10

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About how many poems did Emily Dickinson write during her life?
roughly 180
roughly 1,800
But many of them were altered for publication because they didn't fit contemporary styles.
roughly 18,000

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Which poet created a collection of poems called "The Songs of Innocence"?
Langston Hughes
William Blake
His imaginative style emphasized creativity over logic.
Charles Bukowski

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Why did Alfred, Lord Tennyson struggle to record much of his work?
His hands shook uncontrollably.
He struggled with depression.
He was nearly blind.
Tennyson was so nearsighted he could hardly write down his poems; he worked on them in his head.

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In which war did e.e. cummings serve?
World War I
He survived and created thousands of poems, dying of a brain hemorrhage in 1962.
World War II
The American Civil War

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This poet also wrote a novel, titled "The Bell Jar".
Oscar Wilde
Sylvia Plath
It was Plath's only novel, and the last major work of her life.
Alice Walker

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What profession did John Keats abandon to pursue poetry?
banking
law
medicine
He was even trained in surgery but decided that the arts were more important to him.

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"Love Songs" earned which poet the Pulitzer Prize?
Sara Teasdale
She died at the age of 48 from an intentional sleeping pill overdose.
Gwendolyn Brooks
Spike Milligan

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Why did Samuel L. Clemens say that he didn't like poetry, even though he created poems himself?
He thought novels were a superior art form.
He thought poets were insufferable.
He didn't think he was any good at writing them.
He wrote more than 100 poems but was better known for his novels, written as Mark Twain.

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Who wrote "Goblin Market"?
John Donne
Sarojini Naidu
Christina Rossetti
She also wrote lyrics for a Christmas carol called "In the Bleak Midwinter".

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How many children did John Donne have with his wife?
12
He was also a lawyer but the family constantly struggled with lack of money.
15
17

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How many terms did Billy Collins serve as the poet laureate of the United States?
one
two
Collins has spent much of his life trying to make poetry a mainstream art form.
three

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Who is the first Hispanic poet laureate in the U.S.?
Richard Blanco
Blanco is also the first openly gay poet laureate.
Oscar Hijuelos
Sandra Cisneros

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Why was John Keats unable to wed his 18-year-old lover, who inspired much of his work?
He was broke.
His work brought him almost no money, and he died at a young age.
Her parents objected.
He had a criminal record.

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Where was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow born?
England
United States
He was also an influential educator and taught at Harvard.
New Zealand

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Poet Walt Whitman was also renowned for what?
his volunteer work
He had no real money himself but he was happy to give to others.
his charitable donations
his savagery

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Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote "Charge of the Light Brigade" after reading an account of a battle in which war?
Taiping Rebellion
Crimean War
The poem helped to cement his status as an influential English poet.
World War I

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Which poet described Persephone as a "girl with the gorgon touch"?
Jane Austen
Sara Teasdale
Margaret Atwood
In the poem, the girl is something like Medusa, who turns men into stone by looking at them.

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Which poet was known for being one of the first American writers to embrace the short story?
Edgar Allan Poe
He was only 40 when he died, but he left behind a legacy worthy of Hollywood.
Robert Frost
Langston Hughes

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