Unedited Interview with Steve Roggenbuck by Matthew Sterling
Steve Roggenbuck is unedited as fuck. Look at the guy. Hair unkempt, wearing a single pair of pants he found outside of a dumpster at American Apparel, shouting nonsense into cameras. Yep Steve lives the American dream. Online is a whole other country. Thanks to the internet one can become creative without the pain of going through stifling ‘workshops’ and ‘art exhibits’. Rather there is the opportunity to pick and choose pieces of culture that are the most appealing.
Matthew Sterling asks the question everybody wants to know: what brought Steve to poetry? The answer may surprise you. Or it may just be like ‘Oh yeah, that Cummings guy, that Whitman bro’. Walt Whitman made his money through chocolate samplers. Poetry for him was his passion, chocolate just his day job. Due to Whitman’s love of travel he has many highway rest stops named after him. Poetry can do that. Someday, years from now, there will be a Roggenbuck rest stop on the New Jersey turnpike. Out of deference to Roggenbuck’s beliefs, the rest stop will have a Mountain Dew Soda fountain and a single, framed pair of pants.
Traveling comes up. Steve’s persona is that of the traveler. If Steve could hop a train he would hop a train. Unfortunately there’s a lot more security nowadays so Mega Bus, Bolt Bus and the occasional plane ride are what he must take. For his answer about America Steve lets it all out. America is loud and proud. It takes up almost an entire continent from sea to shining sea. People shout in America. Boardrooms, businesses, farms, highways, sidewalks, all have the rhythm of America. Steve sees this every time he moves.
Indeed I remember a different Steve before his travels. ‘i am like october when i am dead’ shows a low-key Steve. Back then for my first review of his inaugural book I said he sounded very American. Years later I can say NOW he sounds American. He has lived all over the country, met wonderful people, and perhaps discovered himself in the process, found his voice hiding under a rock.
The journey is amazing. Unlike so many idiot hambones who figure ‘I’ll backpack across Europe to find myself’ Steve decides that America is big enough for him to explore. Buddhism is part of this process. Keeping the journey simple means Steve can support others no matter where he goes. Thus for those lucky enough to be ‘grandfathered in’ as friends, they see a whole bunch of pokes from this non-stop poke enthusiast. Don’t even think about Twitter, the @ replies Steve produces are remarkable for their sheer quantity. 14K tweets is impressive.
How Steve ends it is with a view of the future of an artist. Now one can see the inside of their favorite artist’s mind. Sometimes this is a good thing, re-confirming their worth as an artist and person. Other times, in the case of Bret Easton Ellis, it is a tad bit disappointing. Either way it allows a deeper view into one’s mind. Steve Roggenbuck takes social media and transforms it into an art form.