English Student Union and Poetry Club host sentimental open mic night

The event allowed students to share their creations in an inclusive and safe space

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An orange envelope with “confessional” written in cursive across it. The envelope is surrounded by a bunch of hearts.
Pour your heart out post-Valentine’s Day. ILLUSTRATION: Marissa Ouyang / The Peak

By: Petra Chase, SFU Student

Just in time for Valentine’s week, SFU Poetry Club and the English Student Union held 2 Sappy 2 Stories, a virtual love-themed open mic night. 2 Sappy 2 Stories was a sequel to the ESU’s event last year, Sappy Stories, which was a group story writing workshop. This year’s theme expanded the scope from stories to poetry and music, and the outcome was a night full of nimble wordplay, expressive vocals, and personal anecdotes on the ups and downs of love.

The event kicked off with a guided meditation, welcoming introductions, and a writing workshop featuring festive love-themed prompts like writing about a “Bad Romance (Ra Ra Ra Ra)” and “What is Love? (Baby Don’t Hurt Me).” After a writing session backed by ambient instrumental music, students opened up on the virtual floor by sharing spoken word poetry, short stories, and even original songs. The event also included a giveaway to Iron Dog Books, a local Indigenous-owned bookstore.

“We’d like to broaden the horizons of what people think poetry can be,” SFU Poetry Club president Anita Shen shared with The Peak. “Poetry can be anything. It doesn’t have to be literary. We really welcome writing in different languages. There’s some folks who write hip-hop lyrics. Stuff like that.

“I’ve got a huge passion for literature and social justice.”

After organizing and conducting writing workshops for sex workers, Shen brings their care and passion for facilitating social justice events to the club. They guaranteed everyone had a chance to share their accessibility needs and prompted them to set an intention for the evening.

As someone who wrote poetry throughout high school, I can testify that writing is not only a creative outlet, but a way to process emotions and thoughts. To be able to be vulnerable and share your innermost feelings in a safe and inclusive environment is a crucial resource for students’ mental health.

It is no easy feat to share something so personal with a room of people, but the outgoing and encouraging attitude of the audience at 2 Sappy 2 Stories broke the ice and made it comfortable. Every performance was unique and expressive followed by an outpouring of compliments and heart reactions in the chat.

Poetry club is always looking for new members! Whether you’d like to enter their upcoming contests, find out more about events, or simply join a supportive community of poets, you can follow them on Instagram, @sfu_poetry, or join their Discord.