Poet Profile: Anis Mojgani

By Christina Stephens

I first heard spoken word poet Anis Mojgani at a small press poetry reading in Portland, Oregon, and was blown away. His emotion manifests through his rhythm. When he spoke the feeling in the room was something like riding the tallest Ferris wheel and an earthquake; I wanted to stitch his words and wear them as a hug.

Anis resides in Austin, Texas, though he was born and raised in New Orleans. The South as well as childhood, discovery, racism, and social commentary are just some of the themes you’ll find woven into a Mojgani poem. Some are farcical word plays like “Galumpf Deez Nuts” and some such as “Peacocks” tackle his Iranian father’s struggle with identity, legacy, and guilt:

He came to Louisiana when he was 19
hoping to apply his slide rule and his ears.
When asked if he dreams in English or Farsi he says sometimes both.
He has not smelled Tehran in 42 years. He was not there when the revolution dragged
bodies with brick and fire…
His son wonders if his father works as hard as he does
as a self-imposed penance for feeling like he ran from something

Anis Mojgani is already an accomplished poet. In addition to winning the National Individual Poetry Slam in both 2005 and 2006, he was also featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. You can find more of Anis on Twitter at @mojgani or his website The Piano Farm, though to truly experience his work you must hear him deliver it. His voice as raw as his words, as gentle as a melodic hymn. As spoken word poets go, he’s one of the great ones.

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