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Independent Press Award

2024 Distinguished Favorite

The Road to Continental Heart: Befriending, and Defending, the Spirit of North America

Steven Dale Davison

An artist walks across North America with a group of environmental activists, taking photos, raising ecological consciousness, learning the land first-hand. For each week of the nine-month walk, his friend, a poet, 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 that week's mail drop city.
That's the premise and the promise of this book. The artist/photographer is George Lawrence; the poet is Steven Dale Davison; the poems map The Road to Continental Heart. Subtitled Befriending, and Defending, the Spirit of North America, this bookis a bioregional meditation on the landscapes of North America expressed in images crafted through the poet's pen and the focused lens. It is an extended love poem for the land we inhabit and an invitation to a vibrant culture of place. And it is a celebration of friendship.
Continental Heart is not just a book of poetry. Forty-one poems beat at its heart. But it also includes photographs, maps, essays, and excerpts from George and Steven's letters to each other. With its various elements, The Road to Continental Heart describes a four-dimensional journey: eastward across the country, up its mountains and down its valleys, inward toward deeper feelings for our country's majesty, and onward toward a renewed relationship with our homeland. Your journey awaits.

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