In Mount Hope Cemetery remembering the tragic vision of Adelaide Crapsey


• July 2, 2015

For those of us ineluctably drawn to the Mount Hope Cemetery, there is always something new and mysterious to be found. Yes, there is Douglass and Anthony. And all the obelisks erected for bygone Rochester aristocrats, magnates and their scions.  And General Otis’s slightly robbed grave site as he is now interred in Arlington National Cemetery.  Remembering General Elwell Otis on his Day, June 15th: Rochester’s imperial war hero  And those macabre evenings at sunset when, biblical-like, tens of thousands of black crows descend onto tree tops.adelaid

And just today I chanced upon a display recently placed around the grave of Rochester’s Adelaide Crapsey (1878 – 1914) and her family. As described in the placards, after ardently committing her life to art, Adelaide died tragically young, only 36. While a fine writer, she never did quite receive national fame or poetic immortality. (Although, some of her lines do grace the brick sidewalk, the Poets Walk, outside the Memorial Art Gallery.)  SEE Emotions recollected in tranquility on University Ave

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Lines from Adelaide’s poem on the MAG’s Poet Walk

But what the romantic poet’s life!  Perhaps from the grave Adelaide still composes Cinquains, her signature invention. Wander and witness for yourself.  But beware hovering crows at dusk.

Listen to the poem, “November Night,” (from which the excerpt on the sidewalk is taken).



[Provided by Lu Harper, the librarian at the Memorial Art Gallery’s The Charlotte Whitney Allen Library]

POSTSCRIPT:  When I first wrote this post, I made a typo.  I had “poetic immorality” instead of “poetic immortality!”  While I fairly soon corrected the error, very much to my surprise, a reader in Arizona noticed the mistake!  I received this from a friend (still not sure how she came across it):

Paul Kuppinger reports that he found this sentence in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle of 11 July about the poet Adelaide Crapsey: “She never did quite receive national fame or poetic immorality.” It has, understandably, now been corrected.

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Banner outside Mt. Hope Cemetery. 1/7/17 [Photo: David Kramer]


“Alone in the Dawn” Restorationist James Caffrey joins the conversation with more on Adelaide Crapsey