Helicon West is a featured readers/open-mic readings series that will be held on the fourth Thursday of every month at various locations during COVID and the construction of a new Logan Library (see our blog for meeting details). At all events, creative writers are invited to read up to 7 minutes of their original work. Readings are free, open to the public, and uncensored.
You can donate to Helicon West here: https://www.sugarhousereview.com/save-helicon-west
Helicon West is a live reading series that brings published local writers to read alongside community members in an open, uncensored forum. In order to promote the voice of every community member and democratic ideals, we honor all levels of skill, ability, and craft. In addition to featuring published authors to give the literary arts more exposure in Cache Valley and its surrounding areas, we invite and celebrate aspiring writers from every walk of life to find and share their voices with us. We are committed to the causes of inclusion, accessibility, and representation in our writing community.
Helicon West operates on the territory of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, whose people have been living, working, and residing on this land from time immemorial. We acknowledge that these lands carry the stories of these Nations and their struggles for survival and identity. We recognize Elders past and present as people who have cared for, and continue to care for, the land. In offering this land acknowledgment, we affirm Indigenous self-governance history, experiences, and resiliency of the Native people who are still here today.
Star Coulbrooke, former director of the USU Writing Center in the department of English, dreamed for years of starting an open reading series where students and community members could read their writing. In spring 2005, she met with Michael Sowder, a professor of creative writing who had the same dream, and they talked about ways to get something started. Sowder suggested the name Helicon West after the Greek mountain where the mythological muses lived.
The first event in fall 2005 had 11 people in attendance. Subsequent readings steadily drew more participants and audience members. The first event with featured readers was a February, 2006 memorial to the late Utah Poet Laureate Kenneth Brewer. Since then, USU faculty, out-of-town poets and writers, book authors, USU creative writing contest winners, local poetry groups, and others have been featured.
For most of 2020, events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Star’s retirement from the Writing Center. In January, 2021, Helicon West began holding events again, now coordinated by Britt Allen.
Venues over the years have included a University Inn conference room (2005), Citrus & Sage coffee shop (2006-2008), True Aggie Cafe (2008-2011), Citrus & Sage again (2011-2012), the Logan Library (2012-2020), and various locations during COVID and the construction of a new Logan Library 2021-2023.