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The Daily Tar Heel

Instead of using a pen and paper, he uses Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr.

Junior Ishmael Bishop, an English major and columnist for The Daily Tar Heel, reached out to the poet in the hopes of getting him to visit campus, which he will be doing tonight.

“One night on Twitter he tweeted his tour dates and said, ‘If you want to meet me let me know,’” Bishop said, “I replied, ‘LOL come to UNC,’ and he said, ‘Why not!’”

Bishop, who was introduced to Roggenbuck’s work by a friend, is excited to meet the artist because it will give him the opportunity to ask questions and understand his work more.

“I know him through his poetry, which is a completely different person from the person you meet in real life,” he said. “The person you meet in real life has stories and baggage that you can’t know through poetry.”

Roggenbuck’s work isn’t limited to videos — he’s written four poetry collections that simultaneously explore academia, creativity and politics.

To Bishop, he’s eclectic.

“I use that word because he creates this idea of sound poetry,” he said. “He is redefining what being a poet means.”

While on-campus poetry groups like Ebony Readers/Onyx Theater (EROT), The Rejects and the UNC Wordsmiths perform their work on stage, Roggenbuck takes it to alternative settings.

In one of Roggenbuck’s most popular videos, “make something beautiful before you are dead,” Roggenbuck performs in a field, forest and bedroom.

For freshman biology major Brenna Jackson, the most beautiful part of the video is the structure.

“Its fast-paced tempo fluttered with disconnected ideas and intense emotions practically assaults the audience,” she said. “Yet his intense delivery serves to boost ones motivation.”

Jackson isn’t alone in admiring Roggenbuck’s work. Emma Holcomb, a freshman public health major, saw Roggenbuck perform in Michigan over her winter break.

“It feels like you’re just talking to him,” Holcomb said. “He’s a really great performer.”

Holcomb said during the performance, Roggenbuck made a video and asked the audience to throw things at him so viewers would think he had a really bad reading.

“Sometimes I’m not sure there’s a certain way to approach his work, it’s not to find meaning in it but going back and finding the purpose of the absurdity,” he said.

Myles Robinson, a junior communication studies major, believes that hosting artists like Roggenbuck on campus is a valuable trait of UNC’s culture. Robinson is particularly attracted to Roggenbuck’s authenticity.

“I have a fascination with dream chasers,” he said. “To me, Steven’s story screams originality and freedom.”

arts@dailytarheel.com

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