Reconnaissance by Anne Higgins


Reconnaissance – Book Review

If you love poetry – good poetry, insightful poetry, revelatory poetry – than you need to add Reconnaissance by Anne Higgins to your personal library!

Reconnaissance is a collection of poems that’s designed to help you know things and see things in a new way, through new eyes. This theme is reflected in the title and the gorgeous cover, which incorporates blue sky from Rene Magritte’s painting Le Reconnaissance Infinie, as well as a camera lens and the “hated housefly” that Anne writes about in one of her poems.

The theme is present throughout the book and evidenced in the division of Anne’s poems:

  • Binoculars
  • Like The Eyes Of Insects
  • Knowing Again
  • Debriefing Magritte
  • Interrogations
  • Safe House

In each section of the book, Anne paints stunning word pictures, derived from nature, everyday life, her personal experiences, and the rich world of literature, history and art, as she muses on what matters in life – the events that shape us and the things that we experience from birth to death.

Here are a few excerpts from the wonderful poems in Reconnaissance:

In Binoculars – a poem about a gift she received from her father in her youth – Anne writes:

Gathering to the desire to see
Further than is possible
When using the naked eye,
The desire to see the
Yellow-breasted Chat
Who chuckles in the Cape May sun
From a distant Post Oak.
Binoculars present the opportunity.
What you choose to look through
makes all the difference…

In A Wild Séance Of Delight And Cunning, Anne writes a rather sobering poem about the dreams of our youth and the reality of what happens over the passage of time. She asks us to picture ten college students at a bar – drinking beer and envisioning their future. And then, she says to:

Picture this:
In fifteen years, not one of them knows the whereabouts
of any of the others…

One of my favorite poem’s in Anne’s rich collection is Were You There? which opens with this thought:

Everything must change.
Put yourself on any road, and something will show itself to you.

Want to experience Anne in all her splendor? Burned While Baking is another fine example of how she transforms her personal experiences into the transcendent – a poem that spotlights Anne’s gift with words:

We forget this about fire –
that it grabs so fast to what it’s burning.
My left forearm touches the bread pan –
three hundred seventy-five degrees
for two seconds on the human arm –
flash of pain and quick removal
but already the burn hangs on
leaves a rose colored almond shape
and ache.
It’s all energy
all change
drives out moisture out of the wood,
eats everything that’s not already fire.
Then it starts to burn on the outside
And wood becomes fire.
Incandescent inflamed the blistering change.

Anne Higgins is a true poet and each poem in Reconnaissance is a gem – a precious gift that you will want to unwrap and experience over and over, coming back with fresh eyes to reflect on each and every detail.

I highly recommend this book to you and rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Higgins

Anne Higgins

Anne Higgins is a teacher at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD and a member of the Daughters of Charity. Her poems have appeared in Commonweal, Yankee, Spirituality and Health, The Centrifugal Eye, and a variety of small magazines.

Garrison Keillor honored Anne by reading two of her poems on “The Writers Almanac” on October 18, 2001 and August 8, 2010.

In addition to Reconnaissance, Anne has also published six previous collections of poetry.


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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. However, the opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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5 Responses to “Reconnaissance by Anne Higgins”

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  1. Serena says:

    I am so glad that this collection resonated with you! It is one that I now want to read myself. Everyone has loved it. Higgins’ poems are works of art from all the pieces people have shared on the tour. Thank you for joining Poetic Book Tours

    • Create With Joy
      Twitter: CreateWithJoy1

      Serena, thank you so much for the opportunity to review this wonderful collection of poems – as I shared with you personally, reading this book really brought me back to my roots.

      I really look forward to reading more of Anne’s work in the future, and look forward to joining you on future tours as well!

  2. Ken Dowell says:

    I don’t normally read poetry but I would pick up any book that had that cover. Magritte is one of my favorite artists. The exceprts above also peaked my interest.


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