Science Poetry Café

Science Poetry Cafe

In case you haven’t caught on yet, April is National Poetry Writing Month!  Because of that, we have so many fun poetry events coming up, and one of them is the Science Poetry Café. This will certainly be a different type of poetry, and difference is exciting, so come check it out!


Poetry at Three

HW Apr 11

Before I introduce our next Helicon West event, I have to acknowledge the performances that the Bull Pen slam members gave on March 21.  There is no way to truly describe the energy and passion these poets gifted us with in their raw–and sometimes funny–poems.  It was a pretty full house, but anyone who couldn’t make it should absolutely go watch the recording of the evening on YouTube.

For the month of April, we will be resuming our regular event schedule of the second and fourth Thursdays.  As such, the next Helicon West meeting will be April 11th–at 7 pm in the Logan Library, of course.  Our guest readers are members of the Poetry at Three group.  Having heard many of these poets before, I can confirm that it will be a great night, so don’t miss out.



Meet Aiya Sakr


At Helicon West on the 28 February 2019, we were privileged to hear a few poems from Aiya Sakr during open mic night.  Aiya is a former student at Utah State who attended Helicon West from 2013 to 2015.  She read at Helicon West as a winner of Scribendi, the creative writing contest at the time.

Aiya started on the professional path to poetry while taking a poetry class from Ben Gunsberg.  Often her poems are focused on themes of being Palestinian-American, having a dual identity, and the elusive concept of home. Aiya says, “When I am writing, I get to explore the questions I don’t have answers to and find a place for the odd parts of me that don’t fit. I don’t always find answers, but with every poem I emerge more deeply connected with myself.”

In regards to Helicon West, Aiya believes that it’s the perfect place to share her work with a community who strive for the same things that she strives for, a community of seasoned and novice writers, all welcome, brought together by a love of words.  It’s a unique environment that is difficult to find elsewhere.

Aiya has a chapbook called Her Bones Catch the Sun from the Poet’s Haven and has been published in Sukoon, Nimrod, and Burning House Press, among others.  She will be starting an MFA at Purdue University in the fall.


Below is the recording of the night Aiya read at Helicon West.  The entire video is fun, but Aiya’s performance can be found in the last seven minutes or so.



Presenting the Bull Pen Slam Team

HW Mar 21

If you couldn’t make it last week, you missed out on interpretive fly-tying.  No, you will never be able to compensate for that experience.  But we had a great night with inventive poets and writers.

Once again, due to the spring break that we tired college students badly needed, Helicon West will be taking place on the third Thursday rather than the fourth.  Come join us on March 21st as we hear from the Bull Pen Slam Team.  Our slam poets always bring a wide variety of topics and voices to the table, so don’t shortchange yourself on getting to hear from them.


Hooks and Books

HW Mar 7

We had a great time last night with Ben Gunsberg and his poetry (and sound equipment and dancing!), and we’re glad that so many people could make it.  The open mic portion of the evening contained fantastic talent as well.

Due to Utah State’s spring break occurring during the second week of March, Helicon West will happen NEXT THURSDAY March 7 rather than the week after.  Chadd VanZanten and Russ Beck have promised us a thrilling night focused on the topic of fly-fishing–and also featuring some interesting technology to shake up the reading.  If you’re curious about that at all–or if you just want to hear some great writing–come check it out at 7 p.m. in the Logan Library.



Welcome Ben Gunsberg

HW Feb 28

Thank you to everyone who came to our last reading with Amanda Luzzador!  We had a fun night with our horror and love themes, and we were able to hear various pieces of great writing.  For this upcoming Helicon West event on February 28th at 7 p.m., we will be joined by Utah State’s very own Ben Gunsberg.  He will be reading poems from his newly published collection, so it’s sure to be an exciting experience.  And, of course, there’s always the opportunity for aspiring writers to get their work heard during the open mic portion of the evening.  Come support our writing community!



Amanda Luzzader at Helicon West

HW Feb 14

We are thrilled to have author Amanda Luzzader reading to us this Thursday, February 14th, at 7 pm in the  Logan Library.  This is an amazing opportunity–both for couples and for singles–to add a new twist to Valentine’s Day with an author who specializes in science fiction and horror.  Come enjoy her writing and participate in open mic night following the reading.  See you then 🙂

Stephanie F


Special Guest Darren M. Edwards

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For the final meeting of Helicon West this month we will be having Darren M. Edwards as our special reader. As always, we will be meeting in the Logan Library at 7:00 PM. Listening to local and professional writing makes for a great night in this cold winter weather. Bring friends, special significant others, or anyone that would appreciate the event! Hope to see you then!


Westin Smith


Welcome back!

Hey, Helicon! I hope you all got a nice winter break. I spent most of it in Wisconsin with my partner, Charlie. He smiled whenever I marveled at the trees. I haven’t spent much time there yet, and the landscape was just as impressive to me on this trip as when I visited in July.

Listen, though, the trees. There are trees and trees and trees, and behind the trees there are more trees. About half of them are evergreen, but they look black against the snow piled on their branches. Even in the dead of winter, when all the birch trees are bare wood, you can’t see through a thicket of them. Their toothpick bodies block out the view of the horizon.

There are no mountains on the horizon, either. Whenever there was a true break in the trees, I was startled again to see zero sagebrush-covered hillsides. I’m pretty sure Charlie doesn’t know what I mean when I talk about mountains. I’ve tried to describe them to him, but there, among the lakes and rolling hills and trees and trees and trees, everything is about the same height. I don’t know if he’s ever been in a canyon before.

He asked me what foothills are when I described the neighborhoods in the eastern part of Logan. He’s never needed to know what foothills are. He’s never needed to know what sagebrush is.

I’m moving to Wisconsin in May, and that’s something to which I don’t think I’ll quickly get accustomed. No mountains. No sagebrush. Just trees and trees and trees and lakes and lakes and lakes. As much as I love the trees and lakes and snow, I’m definitely going to miss the mountains.

Anyway, now that we’re all back in Logan (including, I’m sure, some of us who didn’t leave), it’s time for Helicon again! We have a few upcoming events I’d like to announce:

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The first Helicon West event of the year is TONIGHT at 7PM in the Logan Library’s Bridger Room, as per usual. We will hear from members of the League of Utah Writers, as well as have our open mic session. The featured readers are Tim Tarbet, Emily Wheeler, Jeremy Goheir, and Amanda Luzzader. Caffe Ibis coffee will be served. See you there!

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Also, this Sunday, there is a free community poetry event at the Bluebird! At 6PM, we will hear from three Cache Valley poets: Star Coulbrooke, Margaret Pettis, and Heidi Blankenship. There will be refreshments and a book signing table. However, because this event is open to the public, it is not BYOB. I hope you all can come. It’s sure to be wonderful!


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Thirdly, if you are a member of Logan’s writing community and would like to attend a weekly workshop followed by one-on-one help from a Writing Center tutor, I encourage you to consider visiting the Cache Valley Community Writing Center! They meet once a week on Wednesdays at 5PM in the Bridger Room (the same room where we have Helicon). I’ve been to one of their workshops, and it’s definitely worth the time!

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Finally, we have the full list of Helicon West dates for the spring semester:


  • TONIGHT (Jan. 11) – League of Utah Writers Showcase
  • Jan. 25 – English Department Lecturers Showcase

  • Feb. 8 – Tony Roegiers Book Launch

  • Feb. 22 – Ben Gunsberg Advanced Poetry Class

  • Mar. 22 – Bull Pen Slam Team

  • Apr. 12 – Poetry at Three

  • Apr. 26 – Sink Hollow Participants

All those fliers can be found full-res below this cut, so if you’re looking for additional details, that’s where you can find them. Thanks for reading, and see you soon!

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