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.