Many of the selections are composed in rhyming couplets, often conversational and even playful, though Tiess does not limit himself to this simple form when aspiring for more elusive effect: “With one glove off, you trace the heavens, / fingers full of reverence,” reads a celebration of winter stargazing. Still, Tiess admires most what’s clear and what’s enduring, relishing how deer “face elements with fortitude,” or marveling at how “marble hands / ten fingers firmly interlocked” persist after centuries in a ruin. With the uncommon directness that is the hallmark of his work, he urges humanity itself to take steps to persist as well, calling for the crafting of “an ark of love to save / our good world from an open grave.”
Endmatter including essays and a glossary of poetic terms makes explicit what readers will infer throughout: The accessibility of Tiess’s poems is the result of careful craft, a zeal to express complex thoughts that sing yet also communicate. “On the yards of my poems,” he writes in one essay, “I did not want any ‘Keep Out’ or ‘No Trespassers’ signs posted.” Instead, The Humbling is an open house, one whose tributes to Whitman and Tolkien suggest the author’s un-humble intentions: approachable yet resonant literature to move, inspire, and even instruct: “Your dreams must not be mere bouquets / which prettify but whither soon.”
Takeaway: These inviting, incisive poems don’t sacrifice resonance as they strive for accessibility.
Great for fans of: Richard Wilbur, Evan Mantyk.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
5 OUT OF 5 STARS. "The Humbling and Other Poems is a mesmerizing poetry collection by Robert J. Tiess. The poems delve into the various aspects of life's journey, such as humility, love, apathy, time, hope, and much more. The collection follows a person in the prime of life, wondering what new mysteries await them in the future. Now I've Become a Butterfly demonstrates how we should strive to live for something greater than ourselves. Remembrance of a Future's Past reiterates the age-old adage that those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it. Phoenix: Eternal insists that it is necessary to fall to learn something new and rediscover oneself. A warrior struggles with the inner conflicts of his soul in The War Within while Escaping Escapism shows how people sometimes pine for any form of escapist release to avoid the truth. Robert J. Tiess takes readers on an intellectual and emotional odyssey you don't want to end. Stylistically and structurally diverse, his beautifully crafted verses make a mark on your soul and leave you with a lot to ponder. Despite the similarity in themes and subject matter, each poem has something different to say and feels unique and authentic on its own. Toward the end of the book, Tiess provides a few complementary essays that give you an insight into the creation of these poems. This is an immensely helpful addition for aspiring poets. If you are a poetry lover, The Humbling and Other Poems is a must-read for you." from Readers' Favorite
"A momentous and impressive display of carefully crafted poetry, The Humbling and Other Poems by Robert J. Tiess is a complex yet accessible collection.
Balancing experimental rhyme schemes and free verse poems with traditional patterns and melodic bursts of language, the breadth of Tiess’ technical skill is impressive. Meticulous in his meter and self-imposed structures, it is clear how much curation and editing has gone into every line of this collection. The imagery ranges from predictable and iconic to radically creative and clever, but the rhythmic flow of word choice stands out as the most exceptional element."