By A. Finn Moss | Beacon Education Beat
The Bass Lake University Class of 2014 didn’t get much opportunity to twirl their literary toes in the ever expanding ocean that is poetry. Not because they weren’t interested in the “delicate” science, but because back in January the adjunct handling the class got caught with a meth lab in his cabin. But come commencement day budding Walt Whitmans and Emily Dickinsonseses will get to hear one of their own set a course and correct that tragic event.
Al Schwartz, the esteemed Bass Lake Poet Laureate, has been tapped to address the graduating Beaver class. Not only is Laureate Schwartz speaking, he’s a member of the graduating class. After a record-setting 45-year stint as a BLU student, Schwartz is at long-last going to toss his mortar board into the air to celebrate earning his B.A. in advanced understatement.
“It truly is an honor to be walking across that stage and standing stock still on it at the same time,” Schwartz gushed. “If only momma were here to witness the event.”
Schwartz changed his major some 74 times since enrolling at BLU back in the fall of 1969. He said the upheaval of the era forced him to reconsider the value of his course of study frequently. Upheaval and recreational bowling, that is.
“When classmates of mine were taking over the boiler room at the heating plant to protest thermostat regulation in the dorm, I was busy trying to perfect a 7-10 split,” Schwartz said. “Then one day while polishing my ball I noticed a small book of poems some coed had left next to the hand dryer. It was a turning point. I switched back and forth between bowling and poetry twice a semester after that.”
Schwartz said he was equally enthralled by alley-wood physics, with a concentration on varnish and humidity, and the use of fluttering meter and three-syllable words by mid-1950’s Michiana poets.
“Those were heady days,” Schwartz said. “They say if you don’t remember the 60s, you were there. That’s what they say.”
Commencement is set for May 17 at 10:47 am at the BLU Tree Place. A carry-in lunch will follow.