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Helder scares up poems with gay identity, horror themes
Photos and Story by James Hill
Chad Helder, a writing instructor at the Rock Creek Campus, has a new book of poetry called, “The Vampire Bridegroom.” Helder is hosting a signing at the Q Center (4115 N. Mississippi Ave.) in North Portland at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15.
All of the poems tell stories – there are vampires, witches, werewolves, Zombies, strange monsters, Bloody Mary, Satan, and even a variety of blobs (his favorite). Also, both books weave themes of gay identity with nightmares and horror imagery, and are filled with humor.
“The work is collection of gay horror, which means it combines gay literary themes with themes from the horror genre,” Helder said. “It just came out in July from a small press in New York. All sales of the book will benefit the Q Center, which is a LGBTQ community center. In addition to reading poetry at the event, I will be discussing the gay horror genre. I edited a collection of gay horror stories that recently won the Bram Stoker Award in the anthology category.”
Helder started writing poetry in 1994 while he was a student at the University of Northern Colorado. Before that, he had tried all kinds of writing, but when he took his first introductory class on writing poetry.
“I discovered, to my surprise, that I had a special knack for poetry–immediately all of my poems were filled with dark and surreal imagery. It seemed clear to me that my poems came from the same place as nightmares. A lot of readers find my poems to be darkly funny.”
In the past year, he has had two books of poetry published: “The Pop-Up Book of Death,” (Rebel Satori Press) and “The Vampire Bridegroom” (Dark Scribe Press). These books include poetry he’s written since 1994.
Helder went to graduate school at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., where he studied, among other things, poetry. After graduate school, he taught for eight years at Whatcom Community College before joining PCC in 2010.