I must say this: Hullabaloo 2014 was a unforgettable, wonderful weekend of unbelievably good poetry, city exploring, passionate finger snapping, and love. Yes, love, and here’s why. If there was one thing I walked out with after Hullabaloo, it would have to a renewed appreciation for all of the high school poets and guest poets that took to the stage throughout the weekend. In the many hours spent basking in the glory of poetry, all the teams got to know each other very well, which translated into a lot of love and support during the various bouts in the competition. The true proof is in the fact that my fingers no longer had the ability to snap by Sunday night, but I assure you that that is the best way to be.

But I won’t let myself go on to long about all of that poetically emotional/passionate stuff. Let’s talk a bit about the competition. I suppose that I should put it out there that we named our team the Fedorables (no explanation provided, sorry), which, to our surprise, became very popular during the weekend. On the Friday night, we presented our introduction piece along with all the other teams, but it was the next day that the competition really started. Competing at the Prophouse CafĂ© on Venables, the Fedorables won their first bout, and during the second bout Sunday, we placed second. It was a whirlwind afternoon on the last day, but it was announced that we would be competing in the finals. At our first year at Hullabaloo, Jamie, Lyle, and I were completely honoured to be going up against some really exquisite teams, and ended tying for second! I could not be happier about how everything worked out, about our performances, as well as the entire weekend as a whole. Our team also cannot thank our mentor, Jacob, enough for the fact that he took the weekend off from his business to support and coach us between and during bouts, giving the most perfect pep talks in the world. I am very proud of everyone who performed at Hullabaloo 2014, and some of the teams are already making plans to meet up at future slams to share some more of our work. Throughout some of our workshops, the beginning of new poems have already begun, and there are few that people are eager to hear the end of (I will only say that Lyle now has a poem about a ‘sneaky campstove’).

However, in all the craziness and loveliness of Hullabaloo, I also have to keep in mind that In-Depth night is fast approaching us. Thankfully though, the concept of my learning center is quite straightforward. Because slam poetry is a performance art, I will be giving a performance at the beginning of the night along with all my fellow stage-goers. Between the three poets in TALONS, we were hoping for a solid time of 12 minutes, so that we would each perform 1 solo piece and one team piece, but it is still up in the air whether we can be allotted that much time. Until we find out though, there is minimum preparation needed for my learning center, except for the task of choosing which poem(s) to perform and having them polished for the night of In-Depth.

Lyle, Jamie and I still plan to meet with Jacob once every two weeks for poetry sessions, but it will be nice not to have the pressure of an upcoming competition for now. Instead of rehearsing my Hullabaloo pieces endlessly, it will be nice to write some new material. For now, I am still in post-Hullabaloo withdrawal mode (which includes symptoms of poet-separation anxiety) but I am refreshed thinking about new poetry and some of the new experiences that the always-pleasantly-surprising poetry world has planned for the Fedorables.