Poetry Trivia Questions

In case you missed them, here are the past five Columbia Granger's World of Poetry trivia questions of the day. You can also receive our poetry trivia questions via RSS Feed Trivia RSS Feed.

  • January 23

    Question:

    What notoriously violent twelfth century troubadour was the inspiration for Ezra Pound's "Sestina: Altaforte"?

    Answer ->

    Bertrans de Born (c.1140-1215). He famously lead a rebellion against the English king Henry II, only to reconcile with him by writing an elegy for Henry's son.

  • January 22

    Question:

    What Italian poet is often credited with "inventing" the philosophy of Renaissance Humanism?

    Answer ->

    Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca). His essay "The Ascent of Mount Ventoux" is cited as one of the earliest works praising the human condition.

  • January 21

    Question:

    What New England poet and philosopher was integral in launching Walt Whitman's career?

    Answer ->

    Ralph Waldo Emerson. Whitman, as an unknown poet, sent Emerson a copy of his manuscript. Emerson wrote back glowingly: "I greet you at the beginning of a great career." Whitman printed that quotation on the spine of the second edition of Leaves of Grass (without asking Emerson's permission). The endorsement considerably boosted Whitman's credibility.

  • January 20

    Question:

    What poem provided the title for E. M. Forster's novel Where Angels Fear to Tread and the phrase in the Elvis Presley song, "Fools rush in?"

    Answer ->

    Alexander Pope's (1688-1744) "An Essay on Criticism." ("Nay, fly to Altars; there they'll talk you dead; / For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.")

  • January 19

    Question:

    What 19th-century American poet coined the phrase "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world"?

    Answer ->

    William Ross Wallace coined the phrase in a poem of the same name ("The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is the Hand That Rules the World.") Less well-known today, Wallace was a good friend of Edgar Allan Poe, and his poetry was popular in its time. Today he is largely remembered for the aforementioned phrase, if at all.

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