The Humbling and Other Poems

The Humbling and Other Poems by Robert J. Tiess is expansive, intricate, and a well-developed poetry collection. While this collection has been arranged in seven parts, its poems can be read in any order and cover many things in life’s journey. There is a kindness and gentleness to Tiess’ work that resonates on a human level, and in turn, gives itself beautifully to the reader. The “Addenda” towards the end of the collection is its own little marvel, and truthfully, if there’s anything I could do differently regarding my initial reading of this collection, it’s that I would read the closing section first.

One poem I especially enjoyed was “Amid the Jersey Turnpike Whales.” As someone who has driven on that cursed road myself, I still remember my first time on the turnpike and Tiess’ poeticizing of it to an ocean is, for me, enormously memorable. Visceral, the scene depicted quickly burrows itself inside your skin. You can taste the exhaust, the gravel, even the cold itself. And then, there’s the rain—Tiess’s chosen equalizer in dreaming the turnpike to an ocean. All of this, contrasted with the peace, warmth, and light of returning home to dryness and comfort, makes this poem a summoning of rest specific to home. And that’s the thing about this collection—while you might not be able to connect with every single poem in it, there’s still something in this book for everyone.

Further, I enjoyed seeing Tiess branching out in his use of form and space (ex: “Deepmost”). I reveled in the opportunity to see him break free from form and let live. Nevertheless, there are times when this sudden liberation causes the opposite to occur. In “Elsewhere in the Coffee House…,” it feels as if Tiess is almost trying to overcompensate for the poem’s unwinding nature by tensing and coiling it back into itself. Tiess is bold with his poems and his language hits a delightful, vital literary octave that only a true poet can touch in their writing.

The Humbling and Other Poems is a well-constructed, and thoughtful creation which not only brings people joy, but also serves to make the world a better place simply by existing.

Pages: 233 | ASIN: B09YMPN6VW

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About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on June 27, 2022, in Book Reviews, Five Stars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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