NU Declassified: Sitting down with Helicon for National Poetry Month

Joanne Haner, Senior Staffer



In honor of National Poetry Month, we’re sitting down with members of Helicon, Northwestern’s literary and arts magazine. Since 1980, Helicon has published student poetry, prose, photography and more.

Do you remember crying
that lonely night on
the cusp of summer’s end?
Headphones on ears, you stood
on the roof of your red house.
Bare-faced, no blush melting
down your mouth.

Neither do I. But I imagine
your concrete statements of sadness
which you once expressed to me
as gentle throbs of color –
maybe navy blue –
drifting abstract
in the crawl-space
of your memory.


JOANNE HANER: That was Weinberg and Bienen junior Skye Tarshis reading their poem “Inhabiting.” Tarshis currently serves as Helicon’s operations manager and treasurer. From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Joanne Haner, and this is NU Declassified, a podcast about how Wildcats thrive and survive at Northwestern.

JOANNE HANER: April showers bring May flowers, but did you know that April is also National Poetry Month?

JOANNE HANER: In honor of National Poetry Month, we’re sitting down with members of Helicon, Northwestern’s literary and arts magazine. Since 1980, Helicon has published student poetry, prose, photography and more, making it Northwestern’s longest-running literary publication. Weinberg junior Lily Glaubinger currently serves as Helicon’s editor-in-chief and has been a part of the publication since her freshman year.

LILY GLAUBINGER: I was very involved in my high school literary magazine, which was coincidentally also called Helicon. As an English literature major and as someone who has started to try to get involved in publishing, and that’s what I want to do post-graduation, being a part of the literary magazine is very much one of the main spaces at Northwestern where you can get involved in publishing literary and arts elements.

JOANNE HANER: Helicon publishes twice a year: once in the winter and again in the spring. Northwestern students are welcome to submit content anonymously to the publication. Glaubinger says that while reviewing submissions for the literary magazine, she’s been able to practice her editorial skills.

LILY GLAUBINGER: I’ve been reading a lot more with an editorial lens lately, which has been very interesting, and kind of a fun exercise in creative writing.

JOANNE HANER: While Helicon usually publishes poetry and prose, Glaubinger says the publication is open to publishing almost anything.

LILY GLAUBINGER: We have staffs dedicated to prose, poetry and art, but our definition of art is incredibly broad. We have photos, we have actual drawings. We’ve had music videos. We encourage any type of art or anything creative that you make in your free time.

JOANNE HANER: Tarshis began her Helicon journey working with the poetry team last year. Like Glaubinger, she said she enjoys being in a space with people who have similar interests.

SKYE TARSHIS: I love literature very much, particularly poetry, and it was so wonderful to just sit around and talk about all the amazing student literature that we got. We have such a talented student body, truly.

JOANNE HANER: Glaubinger echoes Tarshis’ point of view.

LILY GLAUBINGER: This is a place where everyone is just incredibly passionate about what they’re doing. If you’re looking for somewhere to get inspired from other people’s writing or just from being in a community of people who are so entrenched with writing, it’s the perfect place to go to.

JOANNE HANER: Unlike other publications at Northwestern, Glaubinger says Helicon has a variety of students from different specialty schools and degree programs.

LILY GLAUBINGER: The great thing about Helicon is the fact that, you know, it’s a way to be involved in a literary sphere on campus without having to actually take classes on writing. If you’re super STEM-focused — I, myself, when I was largely comp-sci (computer science) instead of English, this was my main escape into the literary. It’s a space where everyone gets to actually express their passion for writing even if they aren’t actively involved in it.

JOANNE HANER: Weinberg senior and Helicon poetry editor Natalie Jarrett says she enjoys the interdisciplinary aspect of poetry at the magazine. As a cognitive science and creative writing double major, she’s able to incorporate themes she learns in her classes into her poetry.

NATALIE JARRETT: I did a series last year for the poetry sequence where I was focusing on a language loss disease known as aphasia and writing a series of poems generated by understanding that disease.

JOANNE HANER: Jarrett highlights Helicon’s ability to give student poets a platform to share their works with a larger audience.

NATALIE JARRETT: I think poetry’s also like one of the hardest literary forms, especially for younger writers, to master, so when you do see a talented student poet, it’s really something to behold.

JOANNE HANER: Beyond their bi-annual literary magazine, Helicon also hosts other events throughout the year, like book clubs, open mic nights and writing workshops.


JOANNE HANER: While the staffers of Helicon are busy putting together their annual spring issue of the magazine, Jarrett has a few recommendations for where The Daily audience can look for poems during National Poetry Month.

NATALIE JARRETT: There’s so much you can find on social media. There are a lot of poets that joke about how they go way more viral on Twitter than they do with the actual work they publish. I like following the Academy of American Poets, like Poetry Foundation,, all those sites. They post full-length poems and it’s really a treat to be able to read that because sometimes you would have to pay for the actual journal in order to have the opportunity to read that.

JOANNE HANER: Tarshis is mainly focusing on practicing their writing skills during National Poetry Month this year. They’ve been looking into poetry challenges that involve writing a poem a day.

SKYE TARSHIS: I just love poetry so much, and recently I’ve been into picking something very particular to research and sort of funneling all those things I like to write about through that very particular, specific topic. I find myself writing a lot about different forms of loss. Whether that be literally losing a person or losing some kind of relationship or missing an opportunity.

JOANNE HANER: Ultimately, Tarshis appreciates Helicon not only as a publication, but also as a space for its members to engage with one another.

SKYE TARSHIS: I’ve learned that forming a community of writers is really important, not just for the success of the club, but just for everybody’s mental well-being too. Just having a space to sit down and exercise your brain in a creative and analytical way outside of a classroom is really fulfilling.


JOANNE HANER: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Joanne Haner. Thanks for listening to another episode of NU Declassified. This episode was reported and produced by me. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is Mika Ellison, the digital managing editors are Ava Mandoli and Erica Schmitt, and the editor in chief is Alex Perry. Make sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear more episodes like this.


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Twitter: @joanne_n_h

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