Solving the World’s Problems by Robert Lee Brewer

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Source: Purchased
Paperback, 92 pages
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Solving the World’s Problems by Robert Lee Brewer is the debut collection of a poet who has spurred inspiration virtually for many years as part of the Writer’s Digest team, and as a debut, it oozes deconstruction, construction, and reflection in each poem’s white spaces in ways that are thought-provoking and eye-opening.  There are love poems, break-up poems, and get back together poems, but the overwhelming theme seems to be that love is the great connector of us all — no matter how successful the relationships ultimately are — and the poet seems to postulate that love can “solve the world’s problems.”  While some of these poems have a pessimistic hint in them, they are balanced with a certain amount of light.

From "Matters of Great Importance" (page xv-xvi)

poets consider which chair
                is going to inspire them
                                  to write the poem

that inspires other people
                  to build chairs and
                                    drive trucks and write poems

Within each poem there is an expansion, an expanse left open for the reader to explore and think about on their own.  While these poems cover well-worn territory at times, each line break and word choice makes them crisp, inspiring the reader to look at the subject anew.  In “worried about ourselves,” the narrator talks of how the moon was once something godly and now is just a chunk of rock floating in space, but toward the latter half of the poem, the new perception is turned on the reader, examining the never-ending analysis of ourselves to the point we begin to believe our own perceptions about reality are true, even when they are not.  Some of the best lines are the simplest, like in “I think the world is a pin cushion” (page 48):

there's a space between everyday matters
that makes someone feel every day matters

But there are more serious moments, moments in which social issues are addressed, such as global warming in “one day we looked for the snow” (page 49) and living in a fast-paced modern world where appearances matter and wars are inevitable — “why I never mention the traffic report” (page 52).  But more interestingly, there is an exploration of the modern world and the perceived increase in connection between humans, but the reality is that we seek these outlets to distance ourselves from one another — walking out the door has never been easier when face-to-face takes a back seat.

Solving the World’s Problems by Robert Lee Brewer is a chance to find ourselves reflected in ourselves and the world around us.  From “the noises that scare us” (page 30):

to uncover and hope no shots are fired
we're not here to find something new        we want
reminded of who we were when the birds

first spoke  our wings dissolve as we age   and

About the Author:

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor for the Writer’s Digest Writing Community. He edits books, manages websites, creates electronic newsletters, crafts blog posts, writes magazine articles, participates in online education, and speaks nationally on writing and publishing topics. As a poet, Robert was named Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere in 2010, has been a featured reader at several poetry events around the country, and is the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

This is my 63rd book for the 2013 New Authors Challenge.




This is my 26th book for the Dive Into Poetry Challenge 2013.


  1. I like the idea of this collection. It sounds refreshing. Great review!

  2. Thank you so much for the thoughtful review!

    I realize that I have no control over reader interpretation once the book is released, but your review hits on quite a few of the more important things I was hoping to accomplish. For that, I am very thankful. Again, thanks!