libby wachtler

4

NOTES FROM LAST NIGHT:

STEVE ROGGENBUCK
FEBRUARY 15, 2016
GOLDSMITHS UNIVERSITY, LONDON


I saw Steve Roggenbuck (@livemylief) read/perform last week at Goldmith’s University. I’ve been a fan of his work for years, and recently was fortunate enough to interview him, in depth, about his new publishing venture, Boost House (@boosthouse) for my dissertation in my Publishing MA. 

This was a weird event! Held in a lecture hall at the University, it had a rough-around-the-edges feel that came from Steve’s really organic and emotive poetry and short stories being performed and discussed in an academic setting and fairly sterile-feeling room. But Steve’s use of language is magical - personal favourite phrases from the night include THE BEST WAY TO WIN A RACE IS TO LOVE HOW IT FEELS TO BE RUNNING and JUST FUCK AROUND WITH ME, DUDE and PLEASE BE QUIET - YOU ARE GOING TO ALIENATE THE WORKERS FROM THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION. He’s got such a good grasp on the line between naive sincerity and naked passion; he’s able to bend it and break it at will, and I’m always caught off guard by the beauty of the language that results when he hits it just right. 

I was really interested in the question of how Roggenbuck translates the raw energy, hyper-positivity, and emotive spectacle that seems to drive his video work (which can be seen on his YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/steveroggenbuck ) into his written work. I tried to keep tabs on my questions while I was taking notes. On the third page above I finally got into that question a little bit, and my main take away was that it seems that Roggenbuck treats the editing process of his written work very similarly to the video-editing process: he collects as much written content as he can (as you would film a lot of footage), and then goes in and removes the false starts and unnecessary connective tissues, carving out the poem or story from the mass of raw material. I think that’s really nice! It feels tactile and honest, in a way. 

A great point someone made during the Q & A session at the end of the reading was that engaging with Roggenbuck’s videos, stories and poems can feel very similar to reading a timeline of Tweets - fragments building on top of each other to create a body of work larger than each component on its own. I love that idea.

Much love to Steve Roggenbuck, Goldsmith’s University, and everyone who came out to see the reading last week. 

youtube

this sounds better in person, please come over (and bring whiskey)