The Official Bio
Anis Mojgani is a two-time National Poetry Slam Champion and winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam. A TEDx Speaker and former resident of the Oregon Literary Arts ‘Writers in the Schools’ program, Anis has performed at numerous universities, festivals, and venues around the globe. He has performed for audiences as varied as the House of Blues and the United Nations. His work has appeared on HBO, NPR, and in the pages of such journals as Rattle, Forklift Ohio, Used Furniture Review and Thrush.
A founding member of the no longer touring Poetry Revival, Anis is also the author of three poetry collections, all published by Write Bloody Publishing: Songs From Under the River (2013), The Feather Room (2011), and Over the Anvil We Stretch (2008). A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, he still tries to make tiny spaces for visual art, doing the covers for his own books, and occasionally providing work for others, be it illustrations, the random poster, or whatever else may spark up. Originally from New Orleans, Anis currently lives in Austin, Texas, though finds himself often away from there. He is represented by Blue Flower Arts.
This is an artist who is commanding and clever. Anis Mojgani is both breathtaking and sweet at the same time. Whether it’s his TEDx talk you’re watching, or whether you’re sitting in the front row of his performance, you can melt one minute when he talks nuclear reactors and love for his wife, and then marvel at how far you’ve travelled into his universe without even noticing: “those gym class wall flowers and the twelve year olds afraid of taking public showers / for the kid who is always late to class because he forgets the combination to his lockers / for the girl who loves somebody else…”
He is personal and political in his poems. ‘For Those Who Can Still Ride in Airplanes’ is conversational, witty and yearning: “A place where oil takes precedence over life / I find myself sitting on a bus watching a small boy float down like fresh water / carrying a book that I used to / Asking me if I want to see what he sees and I do…”
In amongst the talk of a world crumbling, the search for God, for peace, Anis talks about not having enough lovers and masturbation. Every poetic mantle he wears is multi-faceted.
He is a greater sum than his slam poetry, but this is a wonderful place to start. On the page you can pause and see how he stitches his words together or deftly creates an image. His is a master of emotion. No matter where you land with Mojgani you can be sure his world is hopeful, exhilarating and irrepressible.
I started falling in love with words…
When learning to read. When our mother would read to us from The Hobbit. When we would listen to a cassette tape of Narnia on long car rides. When staying up past lights out. When combing the shelves of the children’s bookstore my mother had.
The first time I knew I was hooked was…
When she came walking down Riverside. May tenth. 2009.
Poetry (or spoken word) means…
Overhearing the conversation the world is having with oneself. The translation of what it means to be human.
Other poets I adore are…
Frank Stanford, Jack Gilbert, Lucille Clifton, Pablo Neruda.
I love the sounds of…
Shoes on stones in movies. My wife laughing. Dave Brubeck.
If I could tell you one thing…
We are all part of this and we are all confused and trying. Also, when you get your checked bags from the airport, stand five to ten feet from the carousel – then everyone can see the bags approaching.
Alicia Sometimes is an Australian writer, poet, musician, co-host of 3RRR’s Aural Text and a past editor and long-standing contributor of Going Down Swinging (co-editing issues No. 18-No. 23 and contributing to issues No. 14-No. 17 and No. 25-No. 29).