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Large turnout for Helicon West slam poetry night

March 29th, 2015 Posted in Arts and Life

By Parker Atkinson
Logan After Dark

There was standing room only Thursday night at Helicon West as a large crowd packed into the Jim Bridger Room of the Logan Library for an evening of slam poetry. With topics ranging from sex, religion and relationships to pop culture, beauty, self-image and depression, all nine members of the Utah State University Bull Pen Slam team stood up in front of the crowd to share their work.

“The students were miraculous tonight,” said Star Coulbrooke, founder of Helicon West and director of the USU Writing Center.

Helicon West is a bimonthly reading series that was started by Coulbrooke in the fall of 2005. The name was derived from the Helicon mountain range in Greece, home of the nine muses of Greek mythology, an idea which was then brought west to Cache Valley to inspire local writers.

Thursday night was the first time performing in public for some of the university slam team members.

“It was really nerve racking, but exhilarating,” said slam team member Alex Bullock, who shared a poem about self-image and finding inner beauty.

The crowd also enthusiastically applauded several poems recited by Darren Edwards, a Utah State University graduate and published poet who competed at the National Poetry Slam competition last year.

“How heavy do you guys want to get?” Edwards asked the crowd toward the end of his set as he shared several poems dealing with his exit from the Mormon faith and how it has affected his relationship with his mother. Edwards also shared a harrowing poem about child sex offenders.

“It wasn’t what I expected,” said Josh Sales, who attended Helicon West for the first time. “At first it seemed like a lot of older people sitting there, but then the poems started and all that profanity surprised me,” Sales said. “The combo of themes from the poems made for such an eclectic night, just, wow.”

Readings at Helicon West are free, open to the public and uncensored. More information can be found at https://heliconwest.wordpress.com/.


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