The first gift of creation is the turtle shell we tread upon.
D.A. Lockhart’s Go Down Odawa Way is a poetry collection that explores the physical, historical, and cultural spaces that make up the traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy. This is the region currently inhabited by southwestern Ontario and southeastern Michigan. Individual poems and sections of this collection explore the documented villages, history, and mythologies of the Odawa, Ojibway, Huron/Wendat, and Pottawatomi nations that were lost to the process of colonization and relocation. The project speaks to the history of the region that predates contemporary Canadian and American borders and namings as well as carves out a history that extends back past the mere couple of centuries of European colonization. The narrative focal point of the pieces find their roots in the traditional Lenape vantage point of the author and seeks to draw on the experiences of a modern day urban Indian in connection with the manner that land has changed with non-Indigenous settlement and those that inhabit it.
Go Down Odawa Way utilizes many terms taken from Lenape, the Southern Unami dialect, and Anishinaabemowin. A glossary is included.
View the Book Trailer for Go Down Odawa Way on the Kegedonce Press YouTube channel.
“Lockhart, the virtuoso poet, provides us an impressive and brilliant work that is original, vivid, and is executed with haunting and lyrical force as he moves from one subject to another.” Book review in FreeFall Magazine, April 2022, by Marty Gervais. Read the full review here: https://freefallmagazine.ca/review-of-d-a-lockharts-go-down-odawa-way/
“The culmination of language is song, and D.A. Lockhart’s Go Down Odawa Way is a song in which the vocabulary of memory obeys the syntax of sky, soil and flowing water. Its melody is the clear-spirited music of the Detroit River before the effluent, its rhythm is the 4/4 heartbeat of basketballs on hardwood, and its refrain drowns out with lyric force the 24-hour sonic barrage of auto plants. It’s a song which empresents history, a song with as many verses as there are members of a nation.”
—Richard-Yves Sitoski, Owen Sound Poet Laureate for 2019-2022 and author of No Sleep ‘til Eden
“Daniel Lockhart has taken the land and history of a place – southwestern Ontario and into the US, the traditional territories of the Three Fires Confederacy – and captured how urban settler history is scaffolded onto a deeper denser midden of Indigenous life and knowledge. Water is at the core, as is a blend of industrialized landscape, the natural world running ‘through midland hills/ past shuttered car part plants, beneath/ long neglected bridge ways.’ Lockhart’s weaving of the Indigenous and the industrial with climate change evokes how people live both with their traditions and with settler objects intertwining and complicating their lives, ‘pick-up truck is Indigenous/ in ways/ that birchbark canoes/ and flat/ soled moccasins/ never were.’ Here is a book of water, lake, robin and tree frog, basketball players and cigarette-stub streets contemplating ‘all the ways that places can be rewritten.’”
— Yvonne Blomer, editor of Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds