Summer 2015 /Untold Stories/

The Tetrasept Reunion

Members of the Class of 1968 were on campus in early May for Pomona’s first-ever 47-year reunion, an honor they richly deserve as the originators of Pomona’s ongoing fascination with the number 47.

Photo of members of the Class of 1968 marching in the Alumni Weekend parade

THE CLASS OF 1968, which launched the College’s ongoing fascination with the number 47 years ago, has now given birth to a new tradition—the 47-year reunion. During Alumni Weekend, members of the class flocked back to Pomona for the first such gathering, and in honor of the occasion, they even created a new genre of poetry, which they dubbed the “tetrasept.”

At the center of it all was Bruce Elgin ’68, who—as a student in class with Professor Donald Bentley back in 1964—was one of originators of Pomona’s ongoing 47 search (along with Laurie Mets ’68). Elgin defines a tetrasept as a poetic form with “either four lines of seven syllables or seven lines of four syllables,” adding: “There are no rhyme or meter restrictions.”

During the build-up to the reunion, members of the class submitted tetrasepts about the reunion itself, the Class of ’68 or the cult of 47, for publication in a 32-page booklet. The submissions ranged from nostalgic to acerbic to esoteric, but they had one thing (in addition to their unique form) in common—they’re characteristic of the extraordinary inventiveness of one of Pomona’s most innovative classes.

Below are a few examples lifted from the booklet titled “Tetrasepts.”


From “Tetrasepts” 

We call four score and seven

Oratory from heaven.

But other way ’round … not close:

Seven score and four—just gross!

—Bruce Elgin ’68

Greetings dear friends,

the deadline nears.

Words elude me.

What did I learn

at Pomona?


and words will come.

—Karen Porter MacQueen ’68

Why wait ‘til number fifty?

Let’s meet now, and let’s meet then.

Twice the fun! (Like letters here

Are two times forty-seven).

—Ruth Massaro (Henry) ’68


Since sixty-four

Has proved to be

Unlikely lore;

So now ’hens fete

What shall endure

Forever more.

—Mary Jane Gibson ’68


Have come and gone

My liberal


Still a solid

Deep foundation

For a good life.

—Jill Kelly ¸’68

Where art thou forty-seven

Our class seeks you everywhere

In proofs, in ads, or even

A silly verse—on a dare.

—Diane Erwin ’68

They only are loyal to

this college who, departing,

bear their added riches in

trust for mankind. James Blaisdell

—Kathleen Wilson Selvidge ’68

Bentley proved all

Numbers equal


Hence Pomona

Class reunions

Always are the


—Brian Holmes ’68