His existence has been surmised from consistencies in usage and style among certain of the otherwise anonymous poems in that collection. He was decidedly a follower of the Goliardic tradition, writing student drinking songs and satires on the life of itinerant clergy in the Middle Ages. Very little else can be said with certainty about his life. He does refer to Rainald of Dassel as Archbishop of Cologne, which shows that he must have been alive and active between 1159, when Rainald became archbishop, and 1167, when he died. He refers to himself as ortus a militibus, of knightly birth. In another of the poems attributed to him, he refers to Salerno, suggesting that he travelled between Germany and Italy. Little more can be said about his life.
His best known poem is the "Goliardic confession," a satirical confession on his love of drink, gambling, and women. For example, it contains the lines:
Another section of this long poem supplies the text to the aria Estuans interius ira vehementi (burning with inner rage) that was set to music by Carl Orff in his Carmina Burana cantata. A metrical translation is provided by George Whicher in his Goliardic Poetry and by John Addington Symonds in his Wine, Women, and Song (1884). The Archpoet is a character in the novel Baudolino by Umberto Eco.