Creative writers have a place to share their words
By Kathryn Kemp
December 4, 2006 | Creative writers from the USU campus
and the Logan community have found a place to meet together
and share their work. Whether reading an original poem,
short story or a chapter from a novel, at Helicon West
people, never get the same the twice.
“It’s quite entertaining to see the different forms
of literature that come up there,” said Cyndi Harmon,
a sophomore majoring in English who regularly attends.
Helicon West is a poetry reading started by Michael
Sowder and Star Coulbrooke in the English Department.
The name came from an ancient Greek mountain range called
Helicon that was said to be the home of the Muses, who
inspire creative work. Because of our own mountain range
to the west, Sowder and Coulbrooke found it fitting
to use the title Helicon West.
Held in the attic of Citrus and Sage, a small gift
shop and espresso bar at 130 N. 100 East, participants
gather to share their writing and listen to the work
of others. As an open forum, anyone from students to
professors to community members is able to share.
“There’s no separation,” Harmon said.
Just like any other attic, this one is small but clean,
painted white and pale green. The ceiling is shaped
like a triangle, taking its shape from the outside roof.
A podium and microphone are set up at the front of the
room and chairs are lined up all the way to the back.
Every week the chairs are filled, said Coulbrooke.
They consistently have about 50 people who come. Many
of them are regulars. Others are students who came to
get points for a class, and some are people who want
to see what it’s all about.
“It’s just exploded,” Coulbrooke said.
As the smell of coffee floats up the stairs and fills
the room, each reader is announced, and they try to
fit in as many people as possible in an hour. There
are no requirements as to what can be read and there
is always a combination of some original and some published
Last Thursday, one student read a chapter from a novel
that he felt was particularly good. A teacher in the
English department read a short story she was working
on. Several other students read their short stories
as well. One girl read a poem called “Zits” all about
her experience in high school with bad acne.
“This is my journey through Acutane,” she said.
One man from the community read a piece about a family’s
struggle with losing a son to the war. It started out
humorous as the narrative changed points of view to
get the thoughts of each family member on various subjects
as they left for vacation. But gradually the subject
became more serious as each attempted to find someone
All the while, the audience listened intently to each
person who shared, providing support and encouragement
by showing their interest. Many of these writers tell
their life experiences through their work, and Helicon
West provides a safe, comfortable creative outlet in
which they can share.
“It’s cool because you get to be part of a close-knit
community of people that care about the same things
that you care about,” Harmon said.
The atmosphere at Citrus and Sage makes it ideal for
a poetry reading. The small attic provides a cozy setting
where people sip from their giant espresso cups while
they listen and the resident cat wanders up the aisle,
rubbing his tail against the arm of anyone who dared
sit on the end.
“You just don’t get this kind of thing at places like
Borders,” Coulbrooke said.
Broadsides, advertising posters that have some of
these writers’ work printed on them, can be purchased
from Coulbrooke for $3.
Readings are held every second and fourth Thursday
at Citrus and Sage at 7 p.m. throughout the semester.
The next one will be Dec. 14.