Helicon Literary and Arts Magazine celebrated its Winter 2019 issue Thursday, Feb. 7 with an open mic at Dittmar Gallery, inviting undergraduates wishing to share an original piece of writing to take the floor.

Photo by Cynthia Zhang / North by Northwestern

McCormick Senior and Helicon Editor-in-Chief Katherine Steiner said that although students are encouraged to sign up ahead of time, the open mic was intended to be “spontaneous.”

“People are shy, no one really wants to sign up...but people like to come, see what’s happening,” Steiner said. “Then, once we get through the people who have signed up, probably people will volunteer.”

One such volunteer was Weinberg Sophomore Alyssa Peterson, a staff member at Helicon. The English major performed her poem “Orchid Resurrected,” which she said was based off a painting by Georgia O’Keeffe.

Peterson said that she began reading Helicon as a freshman and quickly became interested.

“It seemed to be the only club or organization on campus that really combined so many different art forms into one medium, and I was really interested in that,” Peterson said.

On top of Helicon’s reputation for including an array of poetry, prose and visual art, other students said they appreciated that the magazine served as an outlet for student expression.

Weinberg Senior Ryan Varadi said that the staff and the people whose submissions the magazine accepts come from a variety of different schools and programs at NU.

“I like being able to promote a culture of student literature and art on campus,” said Varadi, who has been involved with Helicon since his sophomore year.

Photo by Cynthia Zhang / North by Northwestern

Varadi also took the stage last night to read his poem “The Big Empty,” which he said is about the death of his grandmother, who lived in Hungary, and the trip his father took to Budapest to organize her affairs.

“The Big Empty” was written for a poetry class Varadi took last year, he said, but is also being published this March by Catfish Creek, a national undergraduate literary journal.

Other performances included Weinberg Junior Mason McVeigh’s reading of his short story “There’s No Need for Mirrors Here.” McVeigh said his story was an “ironic” imagining of the afterlife from the point of view of the ferryman, alluding to classic Greek mythology.

Steiner said that Helicon, which publishes two issues a year, is already gearing up for what’s coming next.

“We’re going to be opening submissions for our spring issue soon,” she said. “So if [students]...get inspired, they can submit for our next issue.”

Student interested in submitting writing to Helicon can learn more here.