The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey on June 11, 1972 · 112
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The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey · 112

Hackensack, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 11, 1972
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TROUBADOUR continued 5- "You're'it," said Brother Bradley to the sophomore on that fall afternoon. For all young men who ever despairingly groped for a decision on what to do with their lives, the bonanza handed to the sophomore when he descended from the dirt pile can be appreciated. A fantasy evoked by such a scene: "All he is doing is fooling around and hollering after high school one day. An expert in voice coaching hears the hollering. His career as an actor begins then and there. Doors open, cymbals clash, gold overflows the coffers." Basically, what Roger does in his career is to present a one-man show of oral interpretation of poetry. He calls it "Living Poetry." Can anybody think of frailer wings to support a high-flying career? The question is allowable, says Roger. Doubting Thomases abound everywhere. The negators are like the youths who say before hearing Roger's poetry, "You think I'm going to listen to that guy read poetry? You gotta be kidding. Do I have to listen to him?" d UMMONED to go forth and be heard for Bergen Catholic in New Jersey oratorical contests, Roger has extended the command. The voice and its poetry has filled Sir Laurence Olivier's National Theatre in London and will again this summer. In all, his success at the age of 31 is almost obscene. Another fantasy, this one out of envy: "All he has to do is quote Wheiher on the stage or strolling in a park, Roger Steffens has a way of cop-luring his audience of one or 100. fV"? ,y. . f VtM 7 "V Sir - :&A?;u - i A ill ZuKf ' ft " , - ; ' v s ' N Shakespeare, William Corlos Williams, e.e. cummings, and some new poets. Learn a few lines. Un-kink a few gestures. And this operation takes him to Japan, Hawaii, Australia, Hong Kong, England, France, ' and North Africa. Not counting United States cities, small towns, universities. And he's paid." When Roger hopped home the other day to visit his family's house in Westwood and see his mother, Mrs. Edith Steffens, it was then he performed the dirt pile scene out of fond remembrance. His audience of one was spellbound, that condition of millions in the aggregate, described on every page of his massive scrapbook. When he is in full swing on a tour, he said, he may perform at one high school in the morning and at another in the afternoon, followed by a university performance. "The return engagements at several universities Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Chicago, and the Midwestern group generally are like home stands. I never have to stay in motels or hotels. You make intense friendships because the stays are short," he says. His true home now is in Berkeley, Calif., where his wife, Cynthia Cop-pie, writes for magazines. Their romance began on the Isle of the Coconut Monk, a religious reserve midstream in the Aekong. She was there to write a story for Time on the Coconut Monk himself, who sits in a towering tree to pray and meditate like Simeon Stylites. He was drafted in 1968, an imperative that canceled $25,000 1 i x f- r. ,; Ly 4tr: As o SW, In 1965, he distributes boolj, ond unloads packoges for Soigon orphons. His descn'phvt letters to midwest friends brought the response. r. ' 7. rrt'-! 12 JUNE 11, 1972 THE SUND,

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