Modernist Poetry & Art Evaluation


Your task on this WebQuest is to understand the basics of the Modernist poetry movement:

  • How did it come about?
  • What other artistic movements were going on at around the same time
  • Who were some of the people involved? 

You will do this by checking recommended websites on the history of the Modernist movement and then exploring some of the central poets and artists.

You'll be investigating both poets and artists in this WebQuest because nothing happens in a vacuum.  The fine arts influence not only the greater world around them but each other as well.  Literature was not the only form of expression changing during this time. Art was moving away from its long history of being representational and into new territory, e.g. Surrealism and Cubism, dance was expanding beyond classical ballet, and even architecture was influenced, as the innovative designs of Frank Lloyd Wright proved.  

To start, here's a short video on Modernism in poetry and art:


After viewing the video, please read the articles on the following sites:

A brief guide to Modernism:


Modernism Centennial, London - 2009:

Poetic Modes of the Late 19th & early 20th century:

The next part of your webquest relates to both the art and poetry of the Modernist movement.  Below you'll find a list of poets and artists who were important in that period.  

1.  Choose one of the poets and follow the link which will take you to a website featuring their biography some of their poetry.  

2.  Read through the material and choose a poem that you like or that you feel truly represents what you've learned about the Modernist movement.

3.  Once you've chosen a poem, click an artist link and look through the art shown there.  Try to find an example that's from the same time period as the poem.  For instance, if the poem you chose was written in 1923, look for a piece of artwork from the early 1920s.

4.  Compare the poem and the artwork you've chosen.  Are there stylistic similarities?  How do you think each piece exemplifies the Modernist movement?  Do you think the pieces reflect each other in any way, either stylistically or emotionally?

Poets – 

Ezra Pound:




Wallace Stevens:


Marianne Moore:


E.E. Cummings:


William Carlos Williams:




Pablo Picasso:


Henri Matisse:


Rene Magritte:


Paul Klee:


Georgia O’Keeffe:



To complete your WebQuest, write down your comparison of the poem and art you chose in the spaces below.

Fill in the chart. Please be thorough.  This exercise is worth 20 points divided between the poem and art. Each box will have multiple items in it.

  Name, Title, Image (art) Modernist Qualities
Poem & Poet    
Artist & Painting    



It has been a full century since the Modernist movement began, and many changes in art and literature have happened since then.  While poetry has gone through a number of other movements through the 20th century, our poetry aesthetic is still profoundly influenced by the imagery, minimalism, and precise language promoted by the Modernists. 


Photo credits:

Jazz age:

WebQuest Credits

Adapted and updated from another webquest on this site.