cover image Shadows in My Hands: A Southwestern Odyssey

Shadows in My Hands: A Southwestern Odyssey

Jane Candia Coleman. Swallow Press, $23 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-8040-0972-0

These evocative essays by poet and short-story writer Coleman ( Stories from Mesa County ) cover her personal journey during the years she explored the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona before she settled permanently in Cochise County. (The time-frame is indeterminate; the author notes merely that these pieces were written over a number of years.) Captivated by the land's vastness and beauty, Coleman researched the lives of men and women who settled the Southwest, and she made friends with several aging pioneers; she here records the influence of their recollections on her life. Familiarizing herself with Southwestern wildlife and vegetation, she assisted in cattle round-ups and learned to endure long hours on horseback. Coleman's experiences led to her awareness of her emotional and physical strength, enabling her to end an oppressive marriage. This graceful collection combines observant travel writing and history with a chronicle of personal growth. Illustrations. (Oct.)