Back in the glory days of post-grad, I ran a small poetry night down a pub in South Ken with a couple of mates. Now, when you lot picture a poetry night, I’m betting you imagine a few emo sadsacks dotted around a coffee table reading odes to their first loves using a series of awful and ham-handed similes, like a religion using ‘divine word’ to uphold the patriarchy… Aaaaanyway, ours was more like a room of drunken nerds waxing lyrical about their new favourite Tumblrs, sort of like Sick Chirpse in that regard.
We set out to try to prove that poetry was a legitimate art form, re-appropriating the written verse from the journals of sixth formers and MySpace statuses of emotionally crippled Fall Out Boy fans, hopefully meeting some interesting new people in the process. Little did we know that across the pond, there was another just like us… and he had a YouTube following.
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Meet Steve Roggenbuck, the sickeningly young super-poet who’s making waves all over the USA. Much in the same vein as fellow alt-litter Tao Lin, Roggenbuck leans on the ubiquity of internet culture to deliver a series of skittish micro-musings, skiddling his way through modern life with the frenetic energy of an ADHD-suffering puppy dog, and that’s just his YouTube page.
His videos can swing from the hilariously inane to the motivational max in a matter of seconds, and his dedicated Tumblr Live My Lief is truly a site [sic] to behold. Half inspirational image macros, half flarf-poetry, you can spend hours scrolling scrolling scrolling through this guy’s beguiling work. Also, this awesome arsehole’s produced two poetry books, and is slowly forging a new path for poetic dialogue in the Web 2.0 era. I mean take a look at his twitter profile for Science sake, it’s mesmerising!
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Just over a year since he cast off almost all of his worldly possessions and set about tramping across the USA, much like a more productive Chris McCandless (READ A BOOK), we can only expect his videos to become stranger and stranger, or more and more beautiful depending on how you look at it.
So, now you kind of know who and what a Steve Roggenbuck is. But one question remains – is he for real?
We’re not entirely sure either, but we’re hoping that when he comes over to the UK we’ll get to find out. Peace out, Roggenbuck!
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Still think poetry’s boring? Start a twitter argument with Jay Papsby over at @jjpapp, NOW!