Some Things About Helicon West

Hear ye, Hear ye!

Once upon a tomorrow (July 23, 7:00 pm) the minstrels and bards shall gather at the Library which is in Logan. They will meet in the Bonneville Room. They shall have refreshments from Cafe Ibis, and they will read the words of poets. The chiefest of these will be fiction writer Nikki Garrett.

Behold! Thou, o reader, may be one of them. Come early and sign thy name upon the scroll of people-who-will-be-reading. Bring forth thy works under seven minutes long and speak them to thy fellows! The time is at hand!

See how much fun you could be having?

On another note entirely, Helicon West takes its name from Helicon Mountain in Greece. In mythology, two springs sacred to the muses flowed on its slopes, one created by Pegasus. The mountain and the springs in particular were supposed to give poetic inspiration.

And we do poetry…west of that spot. What a great name! We’re a clever bunch.

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon blogger

I Am Boy Thunder/ Isaac Timm

Because I am not reading, but hearing, I can’t tell if this is narrative poetry or fantastic prose. Who cares? Down with genres! Isaac Timm’s reading does not need to be constrained by literary convention.

He’s got a writing style that makes me want to do a documentary on the strange ways of the suburban human…those wild, Freudian animals foraging for food on Tuesdays, carrying their offspring on their backs, pausing to hold hands with their mates….more specifically, Isaac Timm has a writing style that makes me want to write poetry and be a more clever tender person. Nothing is better than work so well-done that it becomes inspirational.

There are a lot of poems in this video. Listen to all of them and be wild and free and melancholy and wounded. Here are some elements Isaac uses that I thought to be especially good.

February 14th 1985 begins at 5:55. One thing particularly excellent is the build up and use of tension, both internal and external. The external tension starts the poem: frustrated parents, a long car trip to a neurologist, an diagnosis never stated. For the purposes of the story, the lack of outright explanation only strengthens the tension. This is because near the end, the original stakes are replaced with the internal conflict: the narrator wants comfort, and wants to give comfort, but the people he trusts are both broken and he’s apparently not capable of giving strength. The really great thing is that while the first problem never went away, it gets replaced just for a moment by something deeper and bigger.

Sunday Morning starts at 10:00 in the video. It’s got a particularly effective opening line, partially due to subject matter, but more especially due to a really tasty simile. “North side of King’s Canyon Route 50. A semi truck burns like a paper lantern, aluminum sides flaking into the sky, leaving behind the trailer’s red bones.” He begins with a serious sounding location, like a news event, immediately catches audience attention. The simile follows, and bringing up the rear of this gut-impact sentence is some humanizing personification. After this strong opening, we get to hear about people’s reactions, which makes the personification of the truck a great tie-in to the next few lines.

Basically, all the poems are made of really strong writing, and explaining all the good things would take forever. So listen to them yourself and see what’s good.

Thanks, Isaac, for taking me on a journey I couldn’t walk alone.

Not to be forgotten, from the same Helicon West we also have the Open Mic readers: Ebony Tyler, Aaron Timm, Diana Hardy, Amy Nelson, Felicia Rose, Brittany McDonald, Tim Keller, and Lizzy. Thanks, all, for sharing!

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

Guess What Happens Tonight!

Guess. Guess!!!

It’s Helicon West!

I bet you already guessed that, due to the thematic content of this blog. If so, good job.

If you are so inclined, in town, and ready for some jolly good fun with the other inhabitants of Logan, tonight’s featured reader is Isaac Timm. You’ll find him at 7:00 pm in the Bonneville Room of Logan Library (225 North Main). Come find out what he’s got to say, and maybe share a bit of your own work! If you have a work or even a work in progress that is seven minutes or less, Helicon West would love to hear it.

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

PS: I’ve been wondering lately what “Helicon” refers to. Low frequency magnetic waves? A mythological river? A crater on the moon? A brass instrument?

Whatever it is, it’s a cool sounding word.

Helicon West 5/30

These are the featured readers from Helicon West’s May program; students and ex-students from Logan High School. Congratulations to those who just graduated!

Katie Lorrigan reads a segment from her novel Zilferia. In this clip, we hear about a duel to the death with werewolves. This is only seven minutes of story but I assume the rest is fast-paced, full of action, and stuffed with magical intrigue. Congratulations on writing an entire book before leaving public education, and good luck with the rest of the series.

Ebony Tyler reads “Love and Loss,” “Foundation,” and “My Black is Beautiful.” They all sound fancy read out loud, like a more somber version of slam poetry. I particularly liked the play on words where Ebony says “beauty is pain, so my black is beautiful.” It’s got so much subtext that I want to throw something. My English major brain is overloaded with excitement.

Diana Anderson reads “Green,” an excerpt from her in-progress book, and an untitled piece. “Green” is about different kinds of monsters, how one will lead unwittingly to another. The little bit of the book sounds very sweet. Keep writing! And the last work is about a regular life, suddenly overwhelming, taken one day at a time even though it drags.

And this is the open mic section. Thanks to everyone who shared their work!

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

The Final Scribendi Blog Post

Loren Smith informs us all in “Rhapsody for a Child of the Sagebrush” that we AREN’T quite a lot of things, and I’m not sure I believe him because his denials are so lovely and gentle and suspiciously specific. But I’ll forgive him for not believing I am not swim trunks stiff from the salt of a lake just because I’ve actually seen that kind of swim trunk, and comparing myself to them, I am aware that they are only part of my experience. I am not actually upright swim clothing. I can accept this.

Sarah Timmerman shares “Conversations with My Past.” It’s lovely and lonely and a little bitter and I want to force it on everyone so they can share a true experience of life–fictional or nonfictional, it’s true either way. I want to give this story to people on rainy days, and to people who aren’t as happy as they say they are, and people trying to love who aren’t doing it quite right. I want to give it to me. Literature is awesome. It allows us to empathize with situations that reflect, expand, and deepen our own.

Alyssa Utley reads two poems and the beginning of her fiction piece. Her first poem is short and makes everyone laugh, probably including you, because for some reason people keep getting married too fast no matter how many train wreck weddings they’ve seen. Why, humanity, must this poem be so relatable? The second is called “My Brother Runs Away.” I like this one because of a sentiment at the very end where she wishes she’d run away. I don’t always feel like I fit in with the art crowd. I’m not the rebel, the trendsetters, the lone wolf maverick daring society to do better. Should I be? The thought makes me excited, and then tired.

This has been quite a romp. Fifteen people have given us their talents and hard work. Thank you, people, for your generosity and courage. Stay fancy. Stay creative.

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

Scribendi Readers Part Four (of Five)

Conrad Lucas reads three short pieces in this video. “Between Spaces.” “Phineas Gage.” “Human.” I don’t often appreciate cynicism because it makes me want to curl up and let the hateful world roll itself to destruction. However, Conrad explains himself so well in these pieces that I could call this love instead of abuse. He tells interesting stories, explains things honestly, and tops it off with hope. You know, that we have souls, that we are better than we think we are, the little particles of possibility that change apathy into endless effort of will.

Tracy Jones reads her nonfiction story, “The Cost of Love.” I most enjoy how the flashbacks and present moment blend. Without confusion, Haiti and a prodigal son become one tale about how hard it is to be a parent. Love isn’t always nice. It can even be painful. I love the world Tracy shows me. People stumble around, trying to help each other, stepping on toes, messing up. Do they forgive afterwards? I’d love to hear the end of this one.

Preston Grover reads the first part of “Like Magic.” You know those books where the author goes off on a tangent describing dozens of foods to try to make you hungry and eventually you’ve seen it before and you don’t care? This is not that story. If the secret ingredient to a really good meal is love, then the secret ingredient to a story about food is…also love. The meals described sound just fine, but I swear I want to eat them more than all the massive feasts of fantasy. The intimacy of cooking is much more edible.

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

Scribendi Readers Part Three

Welcome to the third installment of Scribendi!

Lorelle Frank reads the first part of her fiction story “Case Study.” Homeschoolers Darwin and Archie star in this tale about people whose connection starts out truly awkward. It’s humorous, detailed, and intriguing as a train wreck at the sentence level. It’s heartwarming as a whole. Again, we don’t get to hear the whole story on this video, but the descriptions of an eczema-medication-and tuna-sandwich alone are worth a watch.

Chloe Hanson tells a story from her nonfiction piece “Remnants.” She starts strong. Her topic is death, and the way people try to preserve life. Her description of how we keep our dead is factual, and terribly unnerving. Her description of natural decay is reverent. And her description of life is conflicted. What do we do with these fragile meat machines? How do we deal with their breakdown and with false alarms about mortality?

Anastasia Lugo Mendez reads “Honeymoon,” a short story that may not be suitable for people susceptible to motion sickness. It’s an interesting story; it addresses a fascinating syndrome I’ve never conceived of before, the beginnings of a new life, feelings of instability both literally and metaphorically. It’s beautiful to hear Anastasia read her story. Her voice lilts like the tipping of a boat on waves, soothing (and alarming).

Actually, I kind of feel nauseated now. Hypochondriac powers, activate!

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon blogger