Medium Essay 2 Answer Explanations

If the 1950s was a sparse period for Black poetry, the 1960s more than compensated for it; during the 1960s, Black poets appeared all over the United States. By the end of the decade not only had poetic giants such as Melvin Tolson, LeRoi Jones, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Hayden, and Langston Hughes reappeared with new volumes of poetry, but also at least five anthologies of Black poetry were published. Some of the new Black poets made their debuts in the anthologies. Others were first published in Harlem’s new avant-garde literary publication, Umbra. As the decade drew to a close, the “Broadside Press” poets appeared through Dudley Randall’s series of Broadside Press editions and in Hoyt Fuller’s Negro Digest, which was later known as Black World. These poets brought with them new poetic concepts, a new aesthetic, and a strong awareness of the Black ghetto experience.

Like the spirituals and the secular songs of slavery, the new Black poetry burst forth out of a time of racial turmoil. The catalyst for creativity was a series of events beginning with the Montgomery bus boycott and encompassing the nonviolent sit-in demonstrations of the early 1960s and big-city riots of the mid-1960s. Behind the poets and their songs of bitter protest against racism in America, were the bombings, the assassinations, the burning ghettos, the screaming sirens, the violent confrontations, and the cruel awareness of spreading Black poverty amid white affluence.

The most forthrightly militant representatives of the new Black mood in poetry were the Broadside Press poets, so called because their poems are social, political, and moral broadsides protesting against the body politic and the establishment. Before the Broadside Press poets emerged as a definable literary group, other poets had written protest poetry in the early 1960s that was caustic, bitter, and at times mordantly cynical. But the poetry became more than bitter militant protest. Under the leadership of LeRoi Jones and others, there developed a Black aesthetic that, in one measure, prescribed the guidelines for Black poetic militancy. Under the racial pressures of the late 1950s and early 1960s Jones himself had undergone a metamorphosis, moving from an avant-garde aestheticism to a Black nationalism-activism.

In the process, he abandoned his “slave” name and became Imamu Amiri Baraka. He also moved out of the deep melancholy and pessimism that permeate many of his earlier poems. His “Black Art” indicates that his pessimism was replaced by a vigilant and militant activism. Indeed, “Black Art” announces the credo of the new Black aesthetic – that the direct objective of all Black artistic expression is to achieve social change and moral and political revolution. Poems, Jones asserts, should be “fists and daggers and pistols to clean up the sordid Black world for virtue and love.”

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PARAGRAPH 4

Paragraph 1

Paragraph 1 Analysis

(1) If the 1950s was a sparse period for Black poetry, the 1960s more than compensated for it; during the 1960s, Black poets appeared all over the United States.

(1) 1950s—Black poetry was underrepresented; 1960s—Black poetry exploded as an art form.

(2) By the end of the decade not only had poetic giants such as Melvin Tolson, LeRoi Jones, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Hayden, and Langston Hughes reappeared with new volumes of poetry, but also at least five anthologies of Black poetry were published. Some of the new Black poets made their debuts in the anthologies. Others were first published in Harlem’s new avant-garde literary publication, Umbra. As the decade drew to a close, the “Broadside Press” poets appeared through Dudley Randall’s series of Broadside Press editions and in Hoyt Fuller’s Negro Digest, which was later known as Black World. These poets brought with them new poetic concepts, a new aesthetic, and a strong awareness of the Black ghetto experience.

(2) There was lots of black poetry in the 60s, and “Broadside Poets” appeared. The poetry was inventive and artistic (“new aesthetic”); it also had a social dimension (“ghetto experience”). The author’s introduction of the “Broadside Poets” should be noted, as it is a descriptive name for an important group of people. This tells us that we may hear more from this group later in the essay.

Paragraph 2

PARAGRAPH 2 Analysis

(1) Like the spirituals and the secular songs of slavery, the new Black poetry burst forth out of a time of racial turmoil.

(1) The author is setting the stage to connect poetry to Black social experiences. Evidence should follow to prove this point.

(2) The catalyst for creativity was a series of events beginning with the Montgomery bus boycott and encompassing the nonviolent sit-in demonstrations of the early 1960s and big-city riots of the mid-1960s. So behind the poets and their songs of bitter protest against racism in America, were the bombings, the assassinations, the burning ghettos, the screaming sirens, the violent confrontations, and the cruel awareness of spreading Black poverty amid white affluence.

(2) Big historical events were the inspiration behind the poetry.

Paragraph 3

PARAGRAPH 3 Analysis

(1)The most forthrightly militant representatives of the new Black mood in poetry were the Broadside Press poets ­ so called because their poems are social, political, and moral broadsides protesting against the body politic and the establishment.

(1) In a sense, the author writes everything prior to this sentence to set the stage for the Broadside Press. We read about the upheavals during the ’60s. Now we are about to hear about the poets who came out of this time.

(2) Before the Broadside Press poets emerged as a definable literary group, other poets had written protest poetry in the early 1960s, that was caustic, bitter, and at times mordantly cynical. But the poetry became more than bitter militant protest.

(2) This transition introduces the Broadside Press and explains why we should care about them. What was so different from their predecessors? Basically, the predecessors were protesters. The Broadside Press poets were real artists of words.

(3) Under the leadership of LeRoi Jones and others, there developed a Black aesthetic that, in one measure, prescribed the guidelines for Black poetic militancy. Under the racial pressures of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s Jones himself had undergone a Metamorphosis, moving from an avant-garde aestheticism to a Black nationalism-activism.

(3) The word “leadership” means we are hearing about someone important, someone who plays a major role in the subject of the passage.

Paragraph 4

Paragraph 4 Analysis

(1) In the process, he abandoned his “slave” name and became Imamu Amiri Baraka. He also moved out of the deep melancholy and pessimism that permeate many of his earlier poems. His “Black Art” indicates that his pessimism was replaced by a vigilant and militant activism.

(1) Contrasts are an old favorite of the GMAT. Look for them. Here we have melancholy vs. activism, passive vs. active. We are seeing this poet shed his skin, transform and become a leader.

(2) Indeed, “Black Art” announces the credo of the new Black aesthetic – that the direct objective of all Black artistic expression is to achieve social change and moral and political revolution. Poems, Jones asserts, should be “fists and daggers and pistols to clean up the sordid Black world for virtue and love.”

(2) The definition of poetry for this group emerges: poems are weapons in a war of social change.

1. What is the passage type?

Subject: Cultural
Action: Describe

2. What is each paragraph about?
P1:Appearance of Black poets in the ’60s
P2: Like everything else in the ’60s, Black poetry sprang from social upheaval.
P3: Major example of activist-poets: Broadside Poets

3. What is the organization?
This is a general to specific passage. We start with a general trend in Black poetry and end with a major example, the Broadside Poets.

(1) Like the spirituals and the secular songs of slavery, the new Black poetry burst forth out of a time of racial turmoil.‘]P1[/simple_tooltip] Explanatory: Lays out the setting: Black poetry in the 60s “. . . during the 1960s, Black poets appeared all over the United States.”

P2 Explanatory: Describes cause of new poetry: racial turmoil “Like the spirituals and the secular songs of slavery, the new Black poetry burst forth out of a time of racial turmoil.”

P3 Respectful/Explanatory: Introduces noteworthy example of poetry: Broadside Poets “. . . there developed a Black aesthetic that, in one measure, prescribed the guidelines for Black poetic militancy.”

P4 Respectful/Explanatory: Describes new philosophy represented by Broadside Poets: object of Black art is to achieve social change “. . . the credo of the new Black aesthetic . . . the direct objective of all Black artistic expression is to achieve social change and moral and political revolution.”

The Big Idea: Racial turmoil led to a flurry of black writing in the 1960s designed to effect social change.

Contrast between eras:

Force responsible for change:

Important example:

50s vs. 60s for poetry

Social changes that led to rise in poetry

Broadside Poets

4. What is the Big Idea?
Racial turmoil led to a flurry of black writing in the 1960s designed to effect social change.

5. What is the author’s purpose?
The author wants you to know what happened with Black poetry in the 60s and who was involved. This essay is written from a standpoint of Cultural Marxism (the direct objective of all Black artistic expression is to achieve social change and moral and political revolution).
Explanations

Q1. It can be inferred from the passage that the Broadside Press poets believed that poetry primarily should be:

A) entertaining
B) descriptive
C) aesthetic
D) escapist
E) remonstrative
Q1 Ex Type: Inference
(E) Reading through the passage, the key word mentioned about the poetry of the Broadside Press poets is protest. Remonstrate means to protest or to argue forcibly. Hence (E) is the right choice. If you don’t know what “remonstrate” means, you can still solve this question by eliminating all of the other answer choices when they do not fit your understanding of poetry’s purpose in the passage. All other choices use words from the passage but none are relevant to the Broadside Press poets. This question requires you to understand the basic purpose of poetry for the Broadside Press poets and translate that purpose into a single, descriptive word.

Q2. The author mentions all of the following as indications of the new importance of Black poetry in the 1960’s EXCEPT:

A) the appearance of several anthologies of Black poetry.
B) the appearance of new literary journals for Black literature.
C) courses in Black literature at most colleges and universities.
D) new volumes of poetry by established Black writers.
E) the emergence of a committed Black literary group.

Q2 Ex Type: Detail of the passage
(C) All except (C) are mentioned as indications of the new importance of Black poetry in the 1960s. This is a clear and straightforward question that can be answered simply by referring to the details contained in paragraph 1. You can rule out the other answer choices when you see them in the passage.

Q3. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A) discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a new literary group.
B) compare contrasting literary movements.
C) analyze the impact of a literary movement on American social structure.
D) describe a literary movement and the factors that influenced it.
E) outline the history of a literary genre.

Q3 Ex Type: Purpose of the passage
(D) The primary purpose of the passage is to describe the Black literary movement and factors like the awareness of spreading Black poverty amid white affluence that led to the literary movement. Hence (D) covers this well and comprehensively. The other choices either hint at only partial objectives of the passage or relate to unsupported arguments. (A) is incorrect because there are no weaknesses discussed; (B) because there is no comparison; (C) because no impact on social structure is discussed, and (E) because, although a history is discussed, this isn’t a historical outline.

Q4. It is most likely that immediately preceding this passage the author had discussed:

A) Black poetry of the 1950s.
B) Black prose of the 1960s.
C) some minor Black poets of the 1960s.
D) the racial atmosphere of America in the 1960s.
E) the new periodicals devoted to Black literature.

Q4 Ex Type: Inference
(A) The author begins by comparing the sparse collection of Black poetry in the 1950s to the wealth of poetry from Blacks in the 1960s. The author then goes on to describe the explosion of Black poetry in the 1960s. Hence the proceeding passage would discuss (A). For this question one needs just to read the beginning of the passage; paragraph 1 provides all the evidence.

Q5. According to the passage, the new Black poetry was characterized by:

A) individual introspection.
B) profound despair.
C) moral pessimism.
D) psychological detachment.
E) social protest.

Q5 Ex Type: Detail of the passage
(E) Evidence from paragraphs 1 and 2 highlight that the new Black poetry was characterized by bitter protest against racism in America. Hence choice (E).

Q6. According to the passage, the flourishing of Black poetry during the 1960s was chiefly a reflection of:

A) an increased awareness of Black cultural heritage.
B) a renewed interest in the work of older Black poets.
C) the feeling that poetry is more expressive than prose.
D) the racial trouble in the United States at the time.
E) new goals the older Black writers had set for themselves.

Q6 ExType: Inference
(D) Paragraph 2 sums up the influencing factor behind the 1960s backlash of Black poetry in the United States. The question is partially evidence-supported and partially based on your ability to translate what you read into a summary of the paragraph.

Q7. The passage implies that LeRoi Jones’ main contribution to the new Black poetry was to:

A) make other Black writers more aware of social conditions.
B) attract the attention of Whites to Black literature.
C) provide a link between the older and the younger generations of Black writers.
D) provide the philosophy of the new Black literature.
E) serve as a personal example of what the artist’s role should be.

Q7 Ex Type: Inference
(D) Paragraph 3 says that under the leadership of LeRoi Jones there developed a Black aesthetic that in some measure prescribed the guidelines for Black poetic militancy. This is clearly captured by choice (D). The question is partially evidence supported and partially based on your ability to translate what you read into a summary of the paragraph. (A) may have been true, but there was nothing specific about him doing this. (B) and (C) are not mentioned and can be immediately ruled out. (E) is close, but the essay describes LeRoi’s leadership and ideas rather than specifically what he did as an example. This is a subtle distinction that makes (D) the better answer.

Q8. In which of the following ways is the passage organized?

A) A phenomenon is discussed and then further explained by its appearances in history.
B) A trend is described, followed by an example of a group that exemplified that trend.
C) A hypothesis is stated and then proven through historical examples.
D) A group is praised for its historical merits and then shown to be part of a larger movement.
E) A perspective is analyzed and then called into question.

Q8 Ex Type: Organization of the passage
(B) The passage runs from general to specific, describing the trend of black poetry in the ’60s and ending with the Broadside Poets, a highly respected group of black writers working during this time. Therefore, (B) is correct. This passage is about a specific time in history, namely the 1960s, so (A) is incorrect as it refers to many appearances of a phenomenon through time. There is no hypothesis contained in the passage, since the author simply discusses writers and their activism. Therefore (C) is incorrect. (D) is tricky because it presents (B) backwards. In truth, the group is praised after the larger movement is described, not before it. (E) is wrong because, as stated earlier, the passage simply discusses writers and their activism and does not call into question his/her or anyone’s perspective.

Q1. It can be inferred from the passage that the Broadside Press poets believed that poetry primarily should be:

A) entertaining
B) descriptive
C) aesthetic
D) escapist
E) remonstrative
Q1 Ex Type: Inference
(E) Reading through the passage, the key word mentioned about the poetry of the Broadside Press poets is protest. Remonstrate means to protest or to argue forcibly. Hence (E) is the right choice. If you don’t know what “remonstrate” means, you can still solve this question by eliminating all of the other answer choices when they do not fit your understanding of poetry’s purpose in the passage. All other choices use words from the passage but none are relevant to the Broadside Press poets. This question requires you to understand the basic purpose of poetry for the Broadside Press poets and translate that purpose into a single, descriptive word.

Q2. The author mentions all of the following as indications of the new importance of Black poetry in the 1960’s EXCEPT:

A) the appearance of several anthologies of Black poetry.
B) the appearance of new literary journals for Black literature.
C) courses in Black literature at most colleges and universities.
D) new volumes of poetry by established Black writers.
E) the emergence of a committed Black literary group.

Q2 Ex Type: Detail of the passage
(C) All except (C) are mentioned as indications of the new importance of Black poetry in the 1960s. This is a clear and straightforward question that can be answered simply by referring to the details contained in paragraph 1. You can rule out the other answer choices when you see them in the passage.

Q3. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A) discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a new literary group.
B) compare contrasting literary movements.
C) analyze the impact of a literary movement on American social structure.
D) describe a literary movement and the factors that influenced it.
E) outline the history of a literary genre.

Q3 Ex Type: Purpose of the passage
(D) The primary purpose of the passage is to describe the Black literary movement and factors like the awareness of spreading Black poverty amid white affluence that led to the literary movement. Hence (D) covers this well and comprehensively. The other choices either hint at only partial objectives of the passage or relate to unsupported arguments. (A) is incorrect because there are no weaknesses discussed; (B) because there is no comparison; (C) because no impact on social structure is discussed, and (E) because, although a history is discussed, this isn’t a historical outline.

Q4. It is most likely that immediately preceding this passage the author had discussed:

A) Black poetry of the 1950s.
B) Black prose of the 1960s.
C) some minor Black poets of the 1960s.
D) the racial atmosphere of America in the 1960s.
E) the new periodicals devoted to Black literature.

Q4 Ex Type: Inference
(A) The author begins by comparing the sparse collection of Black poetry in the 1950s to the wealth of poetry from Blacks in the 1960s. The author then goes on to describe the explosion of Black poetry in the 1960s. Hence the proceeding passage would discuss (A). For this question one needs just to read the beginning of the passage; paragraph 1 provides all the evidence.

Q5. According to the passage, the new Black poetry was characterized by:

A) individual introspection.
B) profound despair.
C) moral pessimism.
D) psychological detachment.
E) social protest.

Q5 Ex Type: Detail of the passage
(E) Evidence from paragraphs 1 and 2 highlight that the new Black poetry was characterized by bitter protest against racism in America. Hence choice (E).

Q6. According to the passage, the flourishing of Black poetry during the 1960s was chiefly a reflection of:

A) an increased awareness of Black cultural heritage.
B) a renewed interest in the work of older Black poets.
C) the feeling that poetry is more expressive than prose.
D) the racial trouble in the United States at the time.
E) new goals the older Black writers had set for themselves.

Q6 ExType: Inference
(D) Paragraph 2 sums up the influencing factor behind the 1960s backlash of Black poetry in the United States. The question is partially evidence-supported and partially based on your ability to translate what you read into a summary of the paragraph.

Q7. The passage implies that LeRoi Jones’ main contribution to the new Black poetry was to:

A) make other Black writers more aware of social conditions.
B) attract the attention of Whites to Black literature.
C) provide a link between the older and the younger generations of Black writers.
D) provide the philosophy of the new Black literature.
E) serve as a personal example of what the artist’s role should be.

Q7 Ex Type: Inference
(D) Paragraph 3 says that under the leadership of LeRoi Jones there developed a Black aesthetic that in some measure prescribed the guidelines for Black poetic militancy. This is clearly captured by choice (D). The question is partially evidence supported and partially based on your ability to translate what you read into a summary of the paragraph. (A) may have been true, but there was nothing specific about him doing this. (B) and (C) are not mentioned and can be immediately ruled out. (E) is close, but the essay describes LeRoi’s leadership and ideas rather than specifically what he did as an example. This is a subtle distinction that makes (D) the better answer.

Q8. In which of the following ways is the passage organized?

A) A phenomenon is discussed and then further explained by its appearances in history.
B) A trend is described, followed by an example of a group that exemplified that trend.
C) A hypothesis is stated and then proven through historical examples.
D) A group is praised for its historical merits and then shown to be part of a larger movement.
E) A perspective is analyzed and then called into question.

Q8 Ex Type: Organization of the passage
(B) The passage runs from general to specific, describing the trend of black poetry in the ’60s and ending with the Broadside Poets, a highly respected group of black writers working during this time. Therefore, (B) is correct. This passage is about a specific time in history, namely the 1960s, so (A) is incorrect as it refers to many appearances of a phenomenon through time. There is no hypothesis contained in the passage, since the author simply discusses writers and their activism. Therefore (C) is incorrect. (D) is tricky because it presents (B) backwards. In truth, the group is praised after the larger movement is described, not before it. (E) is wrong because, as stated earlier, the passage simply discusses writers and their activism and does not call into question his/her or anyone’s perspective.