Helper’s Poet Laureate Announces Poetry Readings, Workshops and More


The community has been invited to a free poetry reading that is being hosted at K-2 Gallery on Helper’s historic Main Street on Oct. 8 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. This reading is part of the Utah Humanities statewide book festival.

Two poets laureate that are based in Logan will be giving a gala reading that is sponsored by Anne Jespersen, The Helper Project and the Utah Humanities, as well as Peczuh Printing. This is hosted by Nancy Takacs, who is the poet laureate of Helper.

From 2005 to 2020, Star Coulbrooke founded and coordinated the Helicon West Featured Authors & Open Mic Reading Series, which included the Helicon West Community Broadsides and the Helicon West Anthology.

Acting as the inaugural poet laureate of Logan from 2014 to 2019, she was able to lead monthly community poetry walkabouts that promoted poetry appreciation and provided writing prompts on various themes. Participants were invited to share what they wrote and submit their writings for community poems, while Coulbrooke composed and published in her most recent collections entitled “City of Poetry.”

Two other poetry collections published during her time as the laureate are “Thin Spines of Memory” and “Both Sides from the Middle.” Coulbrooke has also published various chapbooks such as “Walking the Bear,” which may be accessed at the University of Utah’s Marriott Library Digital Archives.

Coulbrooke retired from her position as the Director of Utah State University Writing in 2020 and handed down her legacy to the next generation of community-minded poets and writers that will be able to put their own spin on the tradition. Shanan Ballam is the current laureate for Logan and is the author of poetry chapbook “The Red Riding Hood Papers” as well as two full-length poetry collections.

Ballam earned an MFA in poetry writing from the University of Nebraska and studied under mentor William Trowbridge, who was the former poet laureate of Missouri. Ballam teaches poetry writing and composition for Utah State University and was also selected to be the 2014 Lecturer or the Year for the College of Humanities & Social Sciences. She served on the Utah Arts Council Board of Directors as the Literary Arts Rep from 2013 to 2017.

Takacs is doing a poetry reading and teaching workshops at the Cliff Notes Writing Conference that is hosted in Boulder, Colorado. David Lee and Michael Branch will also teach workshops and read their poetry on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2. Takacs’ reading is Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Boulder Community Center and it is open to the public.

An online option will also be available. The workshops hosted by Takacs will be on Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. and Oct. 3 at 9 a.m. Registration for the workshops can be completed here.

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