Choose your own adventure with Kitty Jospé

Choose your own adventure with Kitty Jospé

[David Kramer at the Lower Falls near the Seth Green Trail, Photo: Dean Tucker, 6/18/16 from Celebrating the roses of Maplewood. But like Sam Patch, Talker is Gorged]

We’ve met poet and educator Kitty Jospé many times, most recently in Local Poet offers an Acrostic/Telestich poem about the Highland Crossing Trail.

In the spirit of NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, several local groups have formed for writing a poem a day in April. Yesterday’s prompt reads: Choose Your Own Adventure book. What adventure are you on? How is it going? Do you play by the rules of the book? 

Kitty came up with an “exercise” using only the end words of “Seneca” and “everything.”

To fulfill the prompt, Kitty searched Talker for a suitable Rochester adventure. She found George Cassidy Payne’s Trailblazers: Reflections from the Ancient Indian Trails of Western and Central New York, prompting a trek by Kitty to the Seth Green Trail in Maplewood Park.

Kitty says:

Exploring the Seth Green Trail, thanks to reading about it from the Talker was a lot of fun… It got me to thinking about the Seneca, the fact that the old Indian trail does not get the recognition for the historical site it is… or even the story behind Seth Green’s understanding of fish which is explained at the head of the trail.

In the poem inspired by the trek, the last lines are in smaller font than the others, shifting in size from 12 – 11 – 10 – 9.  A sort of subconscious reference to what is invisibilized… forgotten,… but still there.

— Kitty Jospé, Rochester, NY, April 6th, 2021 [Photo of Kitty at the Lower Falls taken by Nicholas Jospé]


¹ 1. Treat the Earth and all that dwell therein with respect
2. Remain close to the Great Spirit
3. Show great respect for your fellow beings
4. Work together for the benefit of all Mankind
5. Give assistance and kindness wherever needed
6. Do what you know to be right
7. Look after the well-being of Mind and Body
8. Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater Good

² “The Expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the Six Nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more. I would recommend, that some post in the center of the Indian Country, should be occupied with all expedition, with sufficient quantity of provisions whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed.”General George Washington’s orders to destroy all Haudenosaunee men, women and children, 1778.”

³ Treaty With the Six Nations, 1794 (Yale Law School)


When I first saw Kitty’s accompanying image for the poem, I had some questions. I know her husband Nicholas is an accomplished photographer. Why then does the image suspiciously look like it was taken with a mobile phone? (Normally only photos from real cameras are allowed in Talker.)

Kitty explains:

My husband has a real camera and takes real photos… it just so happened, we were biking and the cell phone fits so conveniently in the pocket.  There were a ton more photos he took — for sure would have been better with a real camera — the echo of shadows… the lighting of trees — so many anthropomorphic — faces… dancing positions, etc. the “snapshots” are just to give an idea.  It’s a photographer’s paradise with the cliffs, the water, etc…

I accepted Kitty’s apologia and cut her and Nick some slack.


Trailblazers: Reflections from the Ancient Indian Trails of Western and Central New York

Seth Green: The Most Important Fisherman in American History


Hike to Rico’s Cave: An Experience Of “Two Rochesters” by Austin Retzlaff

Celebrating the roses of Maplewood. But like Sam Patch, Talker is Gorged

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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