Literary Works


A Novel for the changing Millennium

Critical Commentary

Personal ethics –

Stewardship of the earth –

The relationship of the past to the future –

Set in Rome at the arrival of the new millennium, Threaholds, like The Divine Comedy of Dante, follows the journey of a man at the mid point of his life as he explores the ruins of the past – both personally and historically – and embarks upon the future.

Merging several parallel and overlapping stories into a seamless narrative, Thresholds offers “a growing intensity throughout the book” that “promises a bright future,” observes

Theodore Gross, author of The Heroic Ideal in American Literature.

Review from Book Magazine- Amy Timberlake

The day before the twentieth Century turns to the twenty-first, an international businessman Wayne Janus arrives in Rome for New Year’s Eve party.

How will Janus spend the last day of the millenium?

How will the people of Rome spend the day? Helgeson concludes that the change of the

Author's Excerpts

  It was the appearance or disappearance of the headlights that made the difference, the only difference between the dusk and the dawn. The Arch of Constantine rose, as always, abruptly out of the pavement beside the Coliseum, and, on the boulevard below the iron-railed balconies of the Hotel Numina, a constant flow of traffic seemed to neither thin nor thicken, but merely to continue – endlessly.

. . .


     Pressing aside the sheer white curtains to peer out toward a partially overcast sky, Wayne (Janus) . . . could imagine the only grandfather he had known, a full hundred years before, then only half the age that he was now, standing in the opened entrance of the three-room ranch house next to the White River in South Dakota from which he had gazed out as the earth had turned one last revolution on its axis into what had been its unknown future. . . . He could picture the other one too, his mother’s father, the aspirant actor lost within the crowd scenes of the touring companies that had come to Chicago’s McVickers Theatre.  . . .  Each of them had watched from his own widely separate vantage point as the remaining few seconds had slowly tick-tocked their way into the unimaginable pageant that had transformed and finally swept away the world that they had known.


Marc Smith

Critical Commentary

The publication of Chicago performance poet – and founder of THE Poetry Slam – Marc Smith’s first book grew out of a lunch conversation between the author and Jeff Helgeson, combined with performance illustrations by Michael Acerra. Crowdpleaser presents eighteen of Smith’s most popular poems in a format that recreates the sense of a live performance, bringing the experience of the stage to the page.

About Smith’s work, as stated in the book and television series The United States of Poetry, a significant “strand of new poetry began at Chicago’s Green Mill Tavern in 1987, when Marc Smith found a home for the Poetry Slam. Smith, an ex-construction worker, loved poetry and its possibilities, and finally gathered up the courage to cross the cultural divide and attend a poetry reading – and lo, he was bored therein, and so did Smith create “Slam! . . . Slams have brought Whitman’s ‘muscular art’ pow upon the ear of the populace. The slam is now the most potent grass-roots art movement in the country, existing in over thirty cities, with an annual National Slam that attracts hundreds of poets.”

Bob Holman – The United States of Poetry

“I write about the city and the people of the city . . . As an entertainer-informer I hope to get to that magical spot . . . like a dancer becomes the dance, as a poet, I seek to become the poem.”

Marc Kelly Smith