It seems that at the end of each mentoring session with Jamie and Jacob, I am buzzed with a renewed desire to write some really awesome poetry, but with the late-evening meeting (and perhaps the consumption of Starbucks caffeinated chai tea lattes), it becomes almost impossible to fall asleep. Then begins the circle of obsessive poetic thoughts. I can admit that the loss of sleep is not helping out with my overall well-being, and it seems that I have been running solely off of my own whirring excitement that accompanies the constant writing, editing, performing, mentoring, and drinking chai tea lattes.
So goes the life of a poet, I suppose.
In all seriousness though, I have noticed in the past few weeks how busy I am getting with school, extra curricular activities and in-depth, but I try to keep writing as often as possible to be prepared for the monthly slams at Café Deux Soleils and the upcoming provincial competitions at Hullabaloo. I think it is important to keep my momentum going so that my project and poetry keeping moving in a forward direction, and hopefully it will continue to do that as mentoring with Jacob and competitions continue.
And on top of all of this, I also can report on some other very exciting news from the last slam. It was another successful night of performances all around, but I managed to win first place again, qualifying myself for the Grand Slams later this month. This means that I perform on March 21 against all the other top eight youth poets in the ranks right now, and the top five will be going on the national team to compete in Ottawa during the summer. After the youth team is confirmed, each of the five poets perform one last poem which decides who gets to be crowned the youth Grand Slam Champion for 2014. Our mentor Jacob currently bears the title, but now it will passed on to another poet, as he is not competing this year.
The set looks something like this:
Round 1: Three minute poems
Round 2: One minute poems
Round 3: Three minute poems
Round 4 (Grand Slam) : Three minute poems
So, in the next few weeks it will be very busy for me, deciding what poems I will be performing, as well as writing some new material. I am definitely looking forward to it!
As for our last mentoring session, here are some responses to my work with Jacob.
1. What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far? Why?
Our mentoring sessions with Jacob have been running very smoothly so far, and I would say that the only challenge that we’ve encountered so far is the challenge of time. We try to get the most out of our meetings with Jacob, and considering he is a very busy person, we don’t like to waste his time. However, it seems as we are getting deeper and deeper into the curriculum, we are finding it hard to fit all that we want to into a two or three hour session. I have also noticed that as we are getting more comfortable around Jacob, we sometimes go off on tangents separate from the curriculum, which is not always a bad thing, but I think we just need to work on focusing on the task at hand, whether it be workshopping a certain poem or reviewing our reading material.
2. What is working well? Why?
I think that communication is one thing that is definitely improving throughout our mentorship. Jamie and I are adapting to Jacob’s style of teaching, and I believe we are understanding eachother on a deeper level than we were on our first session, and. I think this also has something to do with the fact that we are becoming much more familiar with a lot of the concepts in poetry, therefore making it easier to comprehend material that is more complicated or requires some more experience. Jacob tends to make his lessons very interactive, and Jamie and I have gotten used to having a very active role in lectures and critiquing periods.
3. What could be working better? How can you make sure this happens?
Like mentioned in some earlier posts, Jacob is assigning some outside reading to us, including books on leadership and human interaction. For both Jamie and I, we have found it somewhat difficult to fit in the time to read all the material for each session, which is something we have to work on. It makes it harder during the sessions to discuss what we have read when we haven’t finished up the entire book, so I think that it is a matter of making it a priority and a habit. Jacob suggests reading a chapter a day of each book, which is not at all unreasonable, but I will have to work on keeping my reading close by so that I can pull it out when I have the chance.