There is something about Anis Mojgani that makes you like him as soon as he starts talking. The legendary American poet will pull this trick in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney in the next few days. Partly you’ll like him because he has a voice like your grandmother’s nice old leather bag: comfortably worn, soft but a little cracked, well used. Partly it’s because he doesn’t set off like a grand orator. He sounds real. Partly it’s because he doesn’t shun the trivial or the genial: there are small and silly things among the larger shapes. But when he really lets it rip, he can also bring a crowd to their feet. There’s a reason that he’s one of only two performers to win the National Poetry Slam twice.
He’s also just really nice. We saw him do a Sydney Writers’ Festival show with Kate Tempest in 2013 that blew our tiny minds. We emailed him after he’d gone home to the US. “Hey Anis. Really liked that poem you did about irrationally hating possums. Could we publish a recording of it?”
“Oh,” he said. “I don’t have a recording yet, it’s new and no one’s used it. But if you wait here I can go and make one for you?”
So he did, along with a stack of re-takes to make sure it was just right, which meant that Going Down Swinging No. 35 included the début audio recording of ‘Today’s Love is Brought to You by the Letter Jon Sands’. You can listen to it here.