Quiz on poets and poetry

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on September 25, 2020 Published on September 25, 2020

September 26, 2020, is the 132nd birth anniversary of Thomas Stearns Eliot, one of the few US citizens who decided to become a British subject. This quiz. dedicated to his memory, is all about poets and their poetry.

Poet’s corner

1 While on TS Eliot, which famous novel by Evelyn Waugh gets its title from Eliot’s Wasteland; the last words of the line, “I will show you fear...”?

2 Born into nobility, this poet is regarded as the founder of modern Russian literature. He lost his life when he was just 37 in a duel with his brother-in-law, French officer Dantes-Gekkern. Name the man.

3 A Greek from the island of Lesbos around 600 years before Christ was born, Sappho’s poetry gave a word to the English language because of the fact that it was meant to be performed with a specific musical instrument. Name the instrument or the word.

4 In the early 20th century, EC Bentley became famous for his clerihews, little four-line biographical poems. Fill in the blanks in this clerihew with the name of a famous scientist.

Sir _____ ______

Abominated gravy.

He lived in the odium

Of having discovered Sodium

5 In which book of poetry does the poet assert in the introduction that “the first two come from India, the next two from China, the next two from Greece, the next two from the Ukraine. The final two came directly to me from the Land of Gup?”

6 Madhukalash and Madhubala were the two works of a specific trilogy. Name the third, which is regarded as a specific poet’s most famous work.

7 Poet Octavio Paz won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1990. For which country did he serve as the Ambassador to India in the early 1960s?

8 At the funeral of his father, also a political leader, which North American recited a rephrased version of a Frost poem, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep. He has kept his promises and earned his sleep”?

9 Name the Indian-born Canadian poet whose second book, published in 2017, was on The New York Times Best Seller list for a period of 77 weeks.

10 Asadullah Baig Khan was known by the honorific Dabir-ul-Mulk, Najm-Ul-Daula and often used the pen name Asad, meaning lion. By which pen name is he better known?


1 Handful of Dust; “I will show you fear in a handful of dust”.

2 Alexander Pushkin.

3 Lyre and lyric, from lyric poetry.

4 Humphry Davy, who also invented the Davy’s safety lamp.

5 Beastly Tales by Vikram Seth.

6 Madhushala, by Harivansh Rai Bachchan. All three were inspired by Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyyat.

7 Mexico.

8 Justin Trudeau at the funeral of his father and former Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau.

9 Rupi Kaur, for her book The Sun And Her Flowers.

10 Ghalib.


Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster;

Twitter: @joybhattacharj

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Published on September 25, 2020
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