Tom Capuano’s book touched my heart

To the Editor:

This letter is the result of reading Melissa Hale-Spencer’s fascinating, and, as always, well-written article about Tom Capuano’s epic poem: “The Tale of Tekarionyoken” and then reading the book itself.

As explained, Tekarionyoken in Mohawk means “the land between two streams.” That’s Altamont.

I was born in Altamont, grew up there, and spent much of my life there, though old age has forced my wife and me to move near our daughter in Baldwinsville.

I always loved Altamont and still do. I have also known Tom Capuano since he was a boy. So I was excited to read about his book, and immediately ordered a copy and read it almost all in one sitting. I will, of course, read it more, and each time understand more.

Tom himself said he is not sure who will want to read his book. I can’t say it is a “must read” book for everybody. I will say it is a “must read” for anyone who loves Altamont, and is curious about its beginnings.

It’s important to hear the author say that the poem is not historical but it is on a spiritual plane. I’d call it “imaginary myth.” That’s why I say, if you love Altamont, you’ll probably like the poem.

I didn’t find it easy reading, at least not always easy to understand, but he uses language beautifully, and it flows in a nice rhythm. And it touched my heart.

I’m by no means a literacy critic; I’m just a simple guy.

Sometimes, when I had a pretty good thought or even a sermon I thought was pretty good, I’d ask my wife Margie, “What do you think about that?”

She’d answer, “That’s somethin.”

So, thanks for your poem, Tom — It’s somethin’!

Keen Hilton

Baldwinsville, N.Y.

Editor’s note: James Keenholts “Keen” Hilton, an Altamont native, was the pastor of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in the village for 29 years. He was named after his grandfather, James Keenholts, and note, that the Keenholtz name appears among original settlers in Thomas Capuano’s book. Hilton and his wife, Margie, now live in Baldwinsville to be with their daughter.


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