By: Winona Young
The art of writing is not lost on SFU student Encina Roh or her fellow club members. Proving that the pen is mightier (and more helpful) than the sword, their SFU club centred around poetry, The Writer’s Art, aims to help local writers and the local community alike.
The Peak sat down with Roh, the club’s founder and co-president, to discuss what The Writer’s Art does, its impact throughout the years, and what they hope to offer to students all around.
“So how our club has had a history of almost five years now,” Roh explained. “We began in 2014 [when Roh was in highschool], and from then on, we wanted to share our love of writing with the rest of the local community, and our school community.”
The Writer’s Art uses their writing to connect and work with the community. For instance, the club often visited various nursing homes. In the past, they often visited places like the Guildford Senior Village and Elim Village. They go not only to visit the senior citizens, but also to teach them about poetry, help them write, and run informal writing circles where they can share the poems they create.
Another integral part of The Writer’s Art is how they uplift young BC poets through their “BC Youth Poetry Contest.” It is a competitive poetry contest which asks young BC high-schoolers (regardless of citizen or residential status) to submit an original poem.
For this year’s BC Youth Poetry Contest, the theme is “Born from the Ashes.” Overall, Roh’s club aims to foster literary creativity and share their talent with the greater community of Canada.
The club also gives its members opportunities to engage in workshops with retired playwrights, teachers, and professors. All in all, the Writer’s Art emphasizes its stance as a club for celebrating writers, and helping others.
“There’s something really magical to see how you can impact someone else’s life . . . Even though you’re teaching seniors or young kids how to write poetry, you’re actually teaching something so much more.”
With her work independently published at 15, Roh spoke of how she personally thought it was important to create a club among a sea of STEM-centric clubs at her high school.
“Our club has been very big on lifting up other people and there’s no right way to write poetry, there’s no right way to express yourself,” she explained.
Over the past few years of their club, The Writer’s Art saw many highlights, but the one that Roh chose to speak on was an experience during the club’s last visit with Surrey’s Elim Village senior citizens.
Not only was The Writer’s Art visiting the Elim Village for the last time, but the members were nearly ready to graduate high school. So in response, the seniors gave them a gift.
“All the seniors at that home they gave us notebooks,” Roh said. “And inside the notebooks each of them gave one of us . . . [was] a really long letter encouraging us, to wish us well in university, and to never stop writing.” To this day, Roh has kept her notebook, and is sure that other members have, too.
To all other aspiring writers hiding in SFU hoping to join the Writer’s Art, Roh acknowledged how difficult it can be to put oneself out there. But Roh emphasizes that they welcome writers of all skill levels.
To Roh, loving writing and helping others is all you need to join The Writer’s Art. “You don’t have to be an amazing writer, you just have to like writing, and you just have to like volunteering and giving back.”