The Road to Continental Heart

Befriending, and Defending, the Spirit of North America

Poetry - General
326 Pages
Reviewed on 09/21/2023
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Author Biography

When my friend George Lawrence decided to walk across the country with some environmental activists, I wanted to join him, but I couldn’t. So I wrote him poems, one a week for the nine months of the Walk. Most of the poems incorporate research I did into the landscapes he would be walking through each week. When done, we added dozens of photos he had taken along the way, letters we had written to each other, prose introductions to its sections, and other stuff to produce this coffee table-style book. But the poems are its core.

I have published poems in more than two dozen journals. Besides The Road to Continental Heart, I've also published a full-length collection of "nature" poems titled Dancing Mockingbird and a full-length collection of poems about intimate relationship titled Dancing with the Moon: Poems of the Heart. Several of my plays have been produced, including several written in verse. I've also written both short and long fiction.

An active Quaker, I am the author of the Quaker blog Through the Flaming Sword and I've published a number of Quaker essays and book chapters. A Quaker nonfiction book is under contract.

I worked for twenty years as a journalist and professional writer in the private sector. I lives in Pennington, New Jersey, with my wife and muse Christine Lewandoski.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

The Road to Continental Heart is the chronicle of a collaborative journey documented in original poetry by Steven Dale Davison and photography by George Lawrence, who together migrated across America with peaceful, like-minded eco-warriors. Davison captures North America's essence through the written word and poetic reflections from 'The Walk', which enriched his understanding of landscapes and their histories and humanity's connection to them. Rooted in the bioregional movement's principles, the compilation of poetry, photographs, and letters emphasizes understanding and living harmoniously with nature. Paired with Lawrence's photos, the poems convey Earth-care messages, urging readers to defend and befriend their land. Through intimate connections and shared love for the continent, Davison invites readers to embrace and protect their own places of residence responsibly.

As a child, my father loaded us kids up in a camper van, and from Vancouver, Washington, we zigzagged across the United States for two months. Steven Dale Davison's The Road to Continental Heart brought me back to those ingrained memories with his superb poetic odyssey. Lawrence's photographs are from the time when film was all we had before digital filtering, resulting in authentic depictions we can feel on the page. Davison beautifully expresses a moving, deep gratitude for the land, hymns of praise and lamentation, and his commitment to preservation. It is impossible not to be moved ourselves and take this testament to the past and its plea for deeper earth connectivity as a timeless reminder of our responsibility to honor and protect it. I dug up my old photo book, sat with my children, and combed through the poetry with renewed hope in the promise of the next generation learning from the ones who walked before them. Very highly recommended.

Asher Syed

The Road to Continental Heart by poet Steven Dale Davison is a nine-month journey across North America undertaken by artist George Lawrence and a group of environmentalist activists. During each week-long leg of the walk, Davison researches the upcoming terrain and sends a poem to that week's destination. A reflection on the scenic beauty of North America, the book combines verse and images to celebrate the land, its inhabitants, and the covenants of friendship. It offers a diverse tour that travels eastward across the continent, traversing mountains and valleys, uncovering the deep magnificence of the country, and strengthening ties to the homeland. Along with the 41 poems, the book also includes imagery, maps, essays, and letters that George and Steven wrote to one another.

"We are all one Earth body. Stones for bones. Blood of rivers, heart of sea." There are a great many mixed emotions elicited from the compilation of moments in word and vision that Steven Dale Davison has put in his single volume, The Road to Continental Heart. I felt love for a planet that, as people, we tend not to show love to, anger at how we take advantage of the gifts Earth and the universe provide, and understanding in Davison's approach towards documenting his journey. The poems and letters are insightful in a way that they force deep thought and are immersive in description. The full-color copies of pages, photographs, and all the many inserts breathe life into the work, so it is sensory in every way. Overall, this ode to North America is striking and gorgeous, and I have no doubt it will hold pride of place on many coffee tables.

K.C. Finn

The Road to Continental Heart: Befriending, and Defending, the Spirit of North America is a work of non-fiction in poetry, art, environmental and natural history subgenres. It is suitable for readers of all ages and was penned by author Steven Dale Davison. The work has a unique way of documenting an exceptional journey across North America, both physically and spiritually. The story follows artist George Lawrence, who embarks on a remarkable trek with a group of environmentalist activists. Our author is Steven, a poet, who contributes by researching each leg of George's journey, delving into the region's geology, geography, wildlife, history, and indigenous cultures. He then crafts a poem inspired by this research for each week's destination.

Author Steven Dale Davison combines poetry, travel, and ecological education in such a unique way for readers to take a fantastic literary and visual expedition across North America. It combines evocative poetry, stunning photography, maps, essays, and letters exchanged between George and Steven to make you feel as though you’re there with them, experiencing and celebrating each of these incredible places. The result is a multi-dimensional understanding that not only explores the physical terrain but also delves into the emotional and spiritual connection people have with their homeland. The presentation as a coffee-table-style book is also a work of art that inspires reverence for the natural world and encourages a deeper connection to the places we call home. Overall, The Road to Continental Heart is more than just a book; it's an ode to the beauty and diversity of North America, a celebration of the friendship between the artist and the poet, and an invitation for readers to connect with the land in a profound way.