Cover for The Road to Continental Heart, by Steven Dale Davison.

About the book
Excerpt from the book

The Road to Continental Heart: Befriending, and Defending, the Spirit of North America is a book of poems and images that invite the reader into a deeper relationship with the continent we live on. The book will be published by Boyle and Dalton in the fall of 2021.

About the book

George Lawrence
George at a campsite

An artist (George Lawrence) walks across North America with a group of environmental activists (the Global Walk for a Livable World), taking photos, raising ecological consciousness, learning the land first-hand. For each week of the nine-month walk, his friend, a poet (myself—Steven Dale Davison), researches each upcoming leg of the walk—its geology and geography, its creatures and features, its social and natural history, its First Nation inhabitants—and sends a poem crafted from the research to the week’s mail drop city.

That’s the premise and the promise of The Road to Continental Heart: Befriending, and Defending, the Spirit of North America, a collection of 42 poems, plus photographs, maps, and excerpts from George and Steven’s correspondence. Continental Heart is a bioregional meditation on the landscapes of North America expressed in images crafted through the poet’s pen and the focused lens.

Continental Heart will be published by Boyle and Dalton in 2021 as a high-quality, coffee table-style book. Because of the images, the book will have a larger format than is usual for a book of poetry and will be printed on high quality paper. Continental Heart will be a delight to the eyes that read it and to the hands that hold it, as only a fine book can be.

How it was written

When George decided to join the Global Walk for a Livable World and walk across the country, I wanted to join him, but I couldn't. So I wrote him poems.

Once a week, he would come to a city where he could get his mail. Waiting for him every week for nine months was one of my poems. Well, not every week. I did miss a couple of my deadlines.

The poem would be about the next leg of his walk based on research into the landscapes he would walk through, their creatures and features, their social and natural history, their First Nation inhabitants.

The vision

The Road to Continental Heart invites the reader to walk that road and enter with the heart into a relationship with the continent we live on. It appeals to the heart, the mind, and the soul of the reader. The poems are personal; they’re about friendship and the intimate knowledge of the land you can only get by walking through it. They are cosmic, about comet strikes and petrified forests and the long ages of geological change. They are lyrical, love poems to the land we live on. They are political—how do we defend the land we love? They are as concrete as heat and sore feet. They are as transcendental as the sense of presence that binds a people to its land base. The book’s subtitle is Befriending, and Defending, the Spirit of North America.

An excerpt

Want a taste? Click this link to read the first chapter.