May we learn from the earth book review robert j tiess
book review

Book Review: May We Learn from the Earth

MAY WE LEARN FROM THE EARTH by Robert J. Tiess is a wonderful and timely tribute to our planet. Check out what Susan Morris has to say about this indie poetry collection.

May We Learn from the Earth

by Robert J. Tiess

Genre: Poetry / Nature

Print Length: 258 pages

Reviewed by Susan Morris

A wonderful and timely tribute to our planet

Robert J. Tiess has created an engaging and accessible resource for those interested in nature and the environment with his collection May We Learn from the Earth. This book goes beyond a deep appreciation and love of nature to teach readers about the modern environment with useful essays, references, and a glossary.

Tiess includes nature and eco-poems about Earth, education, natural history, notable and recognizable geography, history, natural philosophy, flora, fauna, the sea, and the sky in two parts and ten chapters.

He clarifies that most of the poems in the collection could be called “nature poems” and defines eco-poetry as ecologically-mindful poems, explaining eco-poetry as something that “can compel us to rethink our relationships and practices with nature. “ 

Some of the most compelling poems from the collection include “Sequoia Wisdom,” “To the Susquehanna River,”  “Ecology 101,” and “Mostly Water,” where we visit this lovely scene: “The brook walks home with me again; its gentle waters match my pace. It eases me, my thoughtful friend…” 

There’s much wisdom to be obtained by studying nature, and Tiess helps make it easier with his thoughtful look at the world around us. In addition to poetry, Tiess delivers essays that ask readers to objectively consider timely environmental issues. It’s difficult to lay out compelling and concise arguments for both concern and calm, but Tiess succeeds here, especially in its message of unity over alarmism. There are also a number of resources included like lists of nature poets, earth books, and websites for further exploration.

And the concluding discussions are exceptional in drawing everything together. “Crafting a Creed for the Earth” is a welcome guide offering readers a chance to engage with the premise of caring for the planet in a meaningful way.

Pointing out how humans have underestimated nature throughout the course of history, “Earth Empathy” invites readers to consider a new perspective through awareness of how Earth and its flora and fauna react to treatment by humans. It’s a great example of Tiess’s subject matter and worth the read twofold.

There’s much to enjoy about Tiess’s May We Learn from the Earth: Nature Poems and Reflections on the Environment. I would recommend this collection heartily and believe it will appeal to lovers of eco-poetry, nature lovers, and those seeking to become more environmentally conscious or to consider climate change from an alternate view.

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