Steven Helmicki on Poetry, Inspiration, and Strength Training

 

by Denise Carey-Costa

Modern day poet Steven Helmicki has penned 9 compilations of poetry. Remedy Lane, published in 2006, is a journey of Steve Helmickiintrospection and hits on topics we as adults can all relate to. As youngsters, we are driven to and attracted by the one-dimensional dreams and glories we think will make us happy and give meaning to our lives. Helmicki’s book takes on a tour from the gritty streets in a land of urban and moral decay to a higher level of consciousness coming face to face with God and the harsh truth that all we have worshipped until then is nothing but empty facades.

Steven Helmicki’s use of prose creates sharp visuals the reader can see and easily identify. No flowery language, the wording is straightforward, down to earth, and brutally honest. In the opening poem, you can actually see the dimly lit street corner, the local bar and tattoo parlor, and feel the regret and despair in the words describing how men find feeling too late in life and often gravitate to other worldly things.

Remedy Lane combines sorrow and regret with the final joy of finding God. The book hopes to inspire others to go back to their own forgotten moral truths and to re-awaken the humbleness that is necessary for goodness in this world.

“Belief in ourselves is what God hopes. Frankly quite simple, be good to one another, the strings of decency” are some of the verses in the last few poems.

Steven Helmicki has had a diverse life, not only as a poet but as a champion power lifter, holding many state and national titles. He was a former holder of four world records. Steven currently owns his own gym in Buffalo – the New York Primordial Strength Systems, a world class athletic training company.

Steven agreed to be interviewed today regarding his books and his career as a topnotch athlete.

Denise: You currently have 9 books published. What was your first book?

Steven: I currently have 11 poetry/creative sayings books published. The latest is an Epic Poem called Catch and Release. The first book was Ballerina With The Brass Knuckles in Her Purse in 2006. In addition, I have 35 books on Strength and Conditioning published, which are all part of a self-designed scientific system of strength training integrated throughout the lifetime. It is currently being compiled into three large coaching volumes with the training and scientific explanations and rationale for applying strength and conditioning methodically and systematically over a lifetime.

Denise: Was writing something you have always wanted to do?

Steven: Yes. I always wrote notes as a kid and it was my way of communicating to people in the neighborhood. I wrote my first play in 5th grade and was deeply involved in newspapers on a school level even in third grade. It was a dormant and suppressed trait for many years. But it, at first, seeped out from me and then gushed.

Denise: What was the inspiration for your first book?

Steven: The complexity of the human condition and its extreme contrasts even within an individual. The soft, feminine graceful ballerina who somehow finds herself on fast motorcycles and concealing brass knuckles. Few things on earth are what they appear.

Denise: Have you written any other genres other than poetry?

Steven: One book on the creative side, which contains inspirational statements – Sayings from the Eccentric Orbit.

Denise: You won the Arthur Axelrod Memorial Prize for Poetry. Tell us a little bit about that award.

Steven: It’s the State University of New York at Buffalo Arthur Axelrod Memorial Award. The award was established in 1975 through the English department by Mr. and Mrs. Harold Axelrod, the parents of Arthur Axelrod, an undergraduate in the English department. It is voted on by faculty and awarded to the best undergraduate poet. The university’s English department has an incredible rich and intellectual avant-garde history. It was a pre-eminent program and I was fortunate to study under true great, intellectual minds.

Denise: Remedy Lane is a very reflective book. Were these poems based on your own experiences or things you learned from other people?

Steven: A combination. It is hard to cleanly separate those lines like one may think. Life is blurrier than most admit. I struggled with myself and the definition of it for years. I grew up in a neighborhood that had great hopes and great despairs. I was more than a witness, for I lived it; would not change anything but it took many years for me to come into myself and fully mature.

Denise: You have also had a very interesting career in the area of power lifting. When did you start this career?

Steven: I first competed in 1992 and won my first meet. After my second meet, I was ranked 17th in the USA and reached Elite lifter status. I was fortunate enough to establish 4 age and weight class World records and won two national and one World title. It was an outlet after a disappointing end to football and a great outlet. I was a high-pressured person and despite the aforementioned victories, the demons of self-doubt kept me from achieving my true potential. I left it on a discouraged note but after over a decade away, I was fortunate to become a champion and train with some of the best in the country.

Denise: What inspired you to pursue this grueling and very disciplined career choice?

Steven: I believed I could bring undiscovered science and new frontiers to strength and conditioning and build it in such an artful way that it was a safety zone for anyone.

Denise: You own your own gym – the Primordial Strength – in Upstate New York. What is the philosophy behind this type of training?

Steven: The philosophy is lifetime systemized integrated training that can be adapted to everyone from disabled children to elite athletes and special forces. It is based in the application of the variable method and keeping maximum muscle elasticity and movement. It is private, so everyone who utilizes the service is fully comfortable and treated with the up most respect.

Denise: What classes do you offer?

Steven: Private and semi-private brief intense sessions of one half hour that is fully based in applying the previous mentioned science to the very specific needs of individuals.

Denise: Your gym also helps victims of PTSD, which is very admirable. How is strength training a therapeutic tool to overcoming PTSD?

Steven: Moving and cleansing. I am an instructor in SYSTEMA that teaches tension removal through breathing techniques and specific mobility work.

Denise: What advice would you give to younger people wanting to pursue a career in writing or athletics?

Steven: To begin the process of accessing talented people as soon as possible and applying your own critical thinking to the path of mastery.

Denise: What do you hope readers will learn or experience when reading Remedy Lane?

Steven: That no matter how deep the hopelessness can seem in anyone or anyplace the light of the path to happiness is present and always possible.

Denise: Do you have any other book projects in the works?

Steven: Enigma. Poetry based on the influence of the music from the group Enigma.

Denise: If readers would like to learn more about your writing or your gym and or strength training what websites can they go to?

Steven: primordialstrengthsystems.com, stevenhelmickipoetry.com, and anticoncussion.com.

Denise: Thank you Steven Helmicki for your interview and we wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors.

 

To purchase Remedy Lane and other books by Steven Helmicki, visit his Amazon page, and his Barnes&Noble page.