Yet its lessons offer “organic truths'' that are difficult to accept; “with knowledge comes the weight of worlds,” Tiess writes in “From Carefree to Caring”, and he doesn’t mince words in “Earth Education” when the speaker calls on humanity—“alumni of oblivion”—to “examine your calamities.” Though stark and often brutal in their confrontation of humanity’s role in environmental disaster, Tiess’s poems and essays are rooted in hope that by shifting humans’ collective attention from themselves to their environment, they can “resurrect what’s dying to be borne again,” and create a balanced, symbiotic world.
The principal challenge of ecopoetry, which seeks to “maintain a consciousness of Earth while engaging environmental considerations more directly,” is to make nature’s complex system of responses to human activity accessible and digestible for all types of readers, and Tiess’s May We Learn From the Earth ambitiously meets that challenge and goes further. With his back matter of related digital, literary, and scientific resources, readers inspired to continue their education under the tutelage of Earth and her advocates have an entry point to “rethink [their] relationships and practices with nature,” and perhaps “in some small or substantial way” “save the world.”
Takeaway: Ecopoetry and prose urging humanity to shift attention from the self and toward the Earth.
Comparable Titles: Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street’s The Ecopoetry Anthology, Juliana Spahr’s “Gentle Now, Don’t Add to Heartache.”
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS.
In Robert J. Tiess’s captivating collection, May We Learn from the Earth: Nature Poems and Reflections on the Environment, readers are treated to an exquisite and profound exploration of ecopoetry and the impact of human actions on our planet. With a sweeping range of topics, from the perspective of ocean-dwelling creatures to the natural composting of trees, Tiess leaves no stone unturned in his quest to celebrate and understand nature.
More than just a poetic anthology, May We Learn from the Earth also features a handy glossary, comprehensive lists of useful websites and books for further research, and other valuable resources demonstrating the author’s commitment to educating and engaging his audience.
The beauty and eloquence of the poems in this collection are undeniable. Tiess’s words reveal his wisdom, intelligence, and deep connection to the natural world. Rather than expressing bitterness or anger towards the environmental challenges we face, the author conveys a sense of mournful yet hopeful reflection on the damage humans have inflicted upon themselves and their surroundings.
The poems in this collection stand out for their accessibility and clarity. Eschewing the cryptic language often found in poetry, Tiess crafts verses that resonate with readers of all ages, even those as young as middle school students. His vivid descriptions of rivers, canyons, and trees bring readers into nature and allow them to experience all it has to offer. It renews the wonder that is often lost as people rush about in the world and grounds them in all that the Earth has to offer.
This comprehensive and informative work is filled with insightful observations expressed through beautifully crafted poems. May We Learn from the Earth serves as a delightful, thought-provoking, and educational introduction to the world of ecopoetry and nature-inspired verse.
FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS
Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
With the rapid destruction of Earth's ecosystem due to human impact, we must ensure that future generations learn from our mistakes and acquire the knowledge and wisdom to save the planet. Poetry collections like May We Learn From the Earth by Robert J. Tiess are one such step in the right direction. The collection opens with an ode to our planet, with the poem To Earth, Old Friend. From Carefree to Caring highlights the change in perspectives as we age and realize the damage humans have inflicted on the planet we call home. To the Susquehanna River reflects upon the eternal vitality of the Susquehanna River that commands respect from anyone who sees it. Finally, Emerging World contemplates the advent of potential life on a new blooming planet.
May We Learn From the Earth is a poetry collection for all nature lovers and poetry aficionados. Being environmentally conscious is no longer a choice but a necessity; this poetry collection clearly emphasizes that fact. Robert J. Tiess' free-flowing verses shed light on the importance of eco-preservation and remind us to be grateful and humble and respect the gifts nature and Earth have bestowed upon us. The last section contains additional content, including essays and insights on Earth, ecology, and eco-poetry. Again, Tiess uses his inspiring poetic verses to educate and illuminate us on increasingly relevant issues concerning humanity's present and future. This is the second book I've read by Tiess, and just like the first one, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended.