HELICON metamorphoses: The first 40 years

In the Spring of 2020, in a world shut down by a global pandemic, in a nation cruelly divided by race and class, it is a pleasant respite to reflect on the 40th anniversary of Helicon. To generation after generation of Northwestern students Helicon has offered a welcoming space for creative explorations of the self and the world.

It starts in 1980 as a Journal of the Humanities, coming out of a Mary Kinzie poetry class and the Humanities Residential College at Chapin Hall. Undergraduate pieces mix with the work of faculty and graduate students, an essay by anthropologist Mary Douglas here, a poem by Paul Breslin there. As it morphs into a literary and arts magazine the focus turns towards undergrads across the university, aided by encouraging faculty advisors like Reginald Gibbons and Brian Bouldrey. Student staff evaluate student submissions and student editors publish the magazine, a heroic endeavor. From its beginning Helicon nurtures young talent: the playwright Mary Zimmerman of Lookingglass Theatre fame has published poems here, as has Will Butler of Arcade Fire. Supported by individuals and the University, Helicon grows and flourishes. It starts publishing both in print and online, expanding to include music and video pieces. The coming years may bring it to new media as yet unknown.

Happy anniversary, Helicon—may the Muses continue to favor you!

Elzbieta Foeller-Pituch
Helicon Faculty Advisor