Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Thursday Quiz XXI

The Thursday Quiz!

The Thursday Quiz is an "Is It or Isn't It" game. From the list of twelve items, your job is to determine whether each IS or ISN'T a true example of the week's category.

Remember always these words of inspiration:
No research, Googling, Wikiing, or use of reference books. The Thursday
Quiz is a POP quiz. Violators will be stripped of their citizenship.
This Week's Category is a poet, but is unaware of that fact:

Famous Poems

In fact, many of the following (I'm giving you the poet, the title, and the first few lines) are SO famous that they are in William Harmon's 1992 book of the 500 most-anthologized poems of all time. The others are, in various ways, quite bogus. Which ones are the actual famous poems?

1. W.H. Auden, "Musée des Beaux-Arts"

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along....

2. E. E. Cummings, "anyone lived in a pretty how town"

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.

3. Emily Dickenson, "The Yellow Rose"

There's a yellow rose -- in Texas --
That I am going to see,
Nobody else could miss her --
Not half as much as me.

4. T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels....

5. Alan Ginsburg, "On the Che Guevara Highway"

It may have been Camelot for Jack and Jacqueline
But on the Che Guevara highway filling up with gasoline
Fidel Castro's brother spies a rich lady who is crying
Over luxury's disappointment
So he walks over and he's trying
To sympathise with her but he thinks that he should warn her
That the third world is just around the corner.

6. Henry Reed, "Naming of Parts"

To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts.

7. Percy Bysshe Shelley, "England in 1819"

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king,--
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn,--mud from a muddy spring,--
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow....

8. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "In Troy"

The ragged sea, incarnadine, lashing
Here across rocky bluffs has ceaseless swept
Since time beyond our ken. Yet heroes here,
Remembered still, did clash, and die, and win
Their place upon history's page.....

9. Dylan Thomas, "The Two Seasons"

Weary: my body goes weary round the long fall.
Thin sun, and thinner, and dry the scuttering leaves
Swirl round nostalgic apple red and cider stand,
Round clean clapboard churches, whitewashed, tidy as pins.

10. Walt Whitman, "The Tethered Ass"

Poor little foal of an oppressèd race!
I love the languid patience of thy face:
And oft with gentle hand I give thee bread,
And clap thy ragged coat, and pat thy head.

11 . William Wordsworth, "The Swimmer"

With short, sharp, violent lights made vivid,
To southward far as the sight can roam,
Only the swirl of the surges livid,
The seas that climb and the surfs that comb.

12. William Butler Yeats, "The Circus Animals' Desertion"

I sought a theme and sought for it in vain,
I sought it daily for six weeks or so.
Maybe at last, being but a broken man,
I must be satisfied with my heart, although
Winter and summer till old age began
My circus animals were all on show,
Those stilted boys, that burnished chariot,
Lion and woman and the Lord knows what.

Submit your answers, in a rhyme and meter scheme of your own choosing, in the comments.

19 comments:

mhwitt said...

I might be the first to reply (being in the PST at the moment sure helps!) but I will not be getting all of these correct!

1. Oui
2. Oui
3. Mais non!
4. Mais oui!
5. Oui
6. Oui
7. Non
8. Oui
9. Oui
10. Oui
11. Oui
12. Oui

That's way too many affirmative guesses, but oh well!

Jennifer said...

Man, the anthology you got your poems out of must only go back to about 1800. Either that, or they weren't writing famous poems before then?

Chance said...

1. yes
2. yes
3. no, but hoyt axton's version is very nice
4. well, pfft. my blog's name comes from ts eliot's poetry. i even own a CD of ts eliot reading this poem. i'm a poetry geek.
5. this is quite a coup, michael, making ginsburg say this. aside from the rhyme, it reads a lot like a ginsburg, doesn't it? but no, it's the bard of barking, William Bloke himself, billy bragg. (love his St Swithin's Day and New England.)
6. yes, one of my favorite war poems, because it's so subtly spooky.
7. here you have me. it looks good but may be a patented Michael5000 Trap. i'm gonna say yes, because it reads like shelley.
8. um... yes?
9. another toughie; i'm gonna guess that dylan thomas didn't write anything with the words "cider stand" in it. he was too welsh.
10. if i remember my english class from 25 years ago, this is coleridge, not whitman, but man, you're making this hard. and here i thought i was a poetry powerhouse.
11. who is william WOODSworth? i'm gonna sya no, here.
12. oh yes

d said...

poetry? really?

1 n, 2 y, 3 n, 4 y, 5 y, 6 n, 7 y, 8 y, 9 n, 10 y, 11 y, 12 n

guesses all

Allie said...

Woo hoo!

1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. Haha! No, and I have a pretty funny story about that, too.
4. Yes
5. Yes
6. Yes
7. Yup--I think.
8. No?
9. no
10. That doesn't look like his style, so I'm gonna say no.
11. No. (Is this guy a poet? Woodsworth?)
12. Yes

Kate said...

1. yes?
2. no?
3. I think this is a country song so no?
4. no?
5. no?
6. yes?
7. yes?
8. yes?
9. yes? if so, I'd like to read the rest of it -- good stuff.
10. yes?
11. sure?
12. no?

You sure know how to make a gal feel more street smart than book smart...

mrs.5000 said...

1 yes
2 yes
3 no. It's Emily Dickinson with an "i", and you, like others before you, like to sing her poems to this tune.
4 yes
5 no. Methinks this is some hiphop you listen to, maybe the Blues Scholars or something.
6 no. You've spliced an early John Ashbery poem, if I remember correctly, with Auden's poem about the Spanish Civil War.
7 yes. I think that's right. Was it Shelley? Is that the right year? I think so.
8 no. Doesn't sound like Tennyson--irregular and unrhymed. Eliot, I think?
9 ugh. This sounds like a parody of Dylan Thomas, and I don't know it. I'm saying yes.
10 no. Not Whitman. Oh, it's Blake, I think. And not a poem about animal husbandry.
11 Woodsworth? What the hell is a Woodsworth? I don't know the poem, but no.
12 yes. Ah, the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.

Phineas said...

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. No - hah
4. Yes
5. No
6. ?? Yes
7. Yes
8. Yes
9. No, based on clapboard churches - which I take to be pure New Englandism.
10. Yes ?? Unsure
11. No
12. Yes

A lot of wild-ass guesses this this week. Good job M5.

mrs.5000 said...

Damn, I should have known "Naming of Parts." I did know it, but forgot it owed so much to Auden, and blurred it with Ashbery's The Instruction Manual, which probably owed something to Henry Reed. But who the hell is Henry Reed?

Rebel said...

I only know about five poems total... and none of them are on this list.

1 Yes
2 yes
3 yes
4 no
5 yes
6 no
7 yes
8 no
9 no
10 no
11 yes
12 no

boo said...

1. yes
2. yes
3. no
4. yes
5. no
6. yes
7. yes
8. no
9. yes
10. no
11. no
12. yes

Many guesses but embarrassing myself is a hobby.

missy said...

Oh, I like this one :-)

1. is
2. is
3. nope
4. is
5. nope
6. is?
7. is
8. nope
9. nope
10. nope
11. nope
12. is

karmasartre said...

Whoops -- I be disqualified. I looked things over and got to "incarnadine" and wondered if it was related to some supplement a nutritionist recommended, with a very similar name (turns out I was thinking "L-Carnatine") and immediately googled it. My bad. I do have one of these on 45 RPM vinyl...by Mitch Mitchell(!). The good news is that when the answers arrive tonight or tomorrow I will actually look them over with interest rather than to see how I did.

Boo said...

I used "She Seems to Think" on the new vid. Here it is http://blip.tv/file/621500

I hope it's okay. There hasn't been much to do these days. But that will change. You have some interesting songs! It was hard to choose.

Michael5000 said...


Answers:

1. Auden -- Is.

2. Cummings -- Is.

3. "Dickenson" -- Isn't. But might as well be.

4. Eliot -- Is.

5. Ginsburg -- Isn't. As Chance recognized, it is actually a Billy Bragg song, "Waiting for the Great Leap Forward."

6. Reed -- Is.

7. Shelley -- Is.

8. Tennyson -- Is not. That was my own little attempt to make up some mock Tennyson. I am of course delighted that a few of you fell for it.

9. Thomas -- Is not. "The Two Seasons" is perhaps my favorite piece in the poetic ouvre of, well, michael5000. It was dismissed as highly derivative of Dylan Thomas when I wrote it, which is arguably being damned with faint praise. I'm not at all saddened that many of you mistook it for the real thing. Oh, and -- Thanks, Kate!

10. Whitman -- Isn't. Chance called it again; it's from a poem by Coleridge that is sometimes trotted out to demonstrate that great poets really screw up sometimes, too.

11. Wordsworth -- Isn't. "The Swimmer" is a so-so poem by the Australian poet Adam Lindsay Gordon. If it seems at all familiar, you have probably listened to Edward Elgar's song cycle "Sea Pictures." Which is totally underrated, by the way, if you are into that kind of thing.

12. Yeats -- Is.

Michael5000 said...


So, taking home the TQXXI Gold Star is our defending champion, Missy! With 12/12, she becomes the sixth winner of back-to-back Golds, following Karin (IV/V), Blythe (VI/VII), Mrs.5000 (IX/X), FingerstotheBone (XIII/XIV), and Becky (XVII/XVIII). No one has yet made it to three in a row; tune in next week.

Coming in strong with 11/12, Chance bags the Silver Star, his first and his second Star overall in competition.

Also with 11/12, Boo takes her first Blue Star, her third overall.

Well played all around.

Michael5000 said...


@Jennifer: Well, I wanted to use good poems.

Oh, it looks like you forgot to submit your answers.

@karma: Very sporting application of the honors system. Well done.

@Jennifer: Did I make your blood pressure rise? It's true, I stuck to the end of the book. I wanted to highlight some of my favorite poems, and among the three books on my bedside table are Yeats, Auden, and Cummings. I could do a lot worse.

(The fourth book, oddly, is a lavishly illustrated young adult's history of the United Kingdom. I'm not sure what it's doing there, but it has been part of the bedside table stack for at years.)

@d: "poetry? really?" Hey, we're all about the well-rounded mind on this blog. Next week will be "Great Moments of Jayhawk Basketball." I promise.

Wait. I don't.

d said...

i would so totally nail that one.

missy said...

Oh, no pressure at all for next week, then...