Anis Mojgani

Acclaimed Performance Poet
National Poetry Slam Champion

Readings & Lecture Topics

  • An Evening with Anis Mojgani

“Anis Mojgani shook the dust off me and everyone else in the audience with the beauty of his words.” —Saul Williams

“His poetry sings just as beautifully on the page as it does on the stage.” — Pank

“Anis Mojgani is a spoken word superhero. His poems bleed pure energy into anyone who cares enough to open up and listen. “ —Commonline Journal

Anis Mojgani is the author of five poetry collections, all published by Write Bloody Publishing: In the Pockets of Small Gods (2018), The Pocketknife Bible (2015), Songs From Under The River (2013), The Feather Room (2011), and Over the Anvil We Stretch (2008). He 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, Mojgani has performed for audiences as varied as the House of Blues and the United Nations. His work has appeared on HBO, NPR, and in such journals as Rattle, Paper Darts, Forklift Ohio, and Used Furniture Review.

Pulling inspiration from his Black and Iranian heritage, his childhood memories, his worldview, love, and existence, Anis takes seemingly commonplace subject matter and sculpts inspiration from them. Weaving dream-like tales that dip into imaginative imagery, Anis’s poems make the ordinary almost surreal and, through jolts of wide-eyed writing and striking honesty, make that which is fantastical remarkably relatable. Both innocent and heartbreaking, introspective and curious, the humanity his work carries causes listeners to remember and experience a childhood that is not their own but feels like it was. In the words of Tony Hoagland, “Anis Mojgani restores us to the genius of child-mind—his poems are heroic adventures that take us outward and upward for our own collective good.”

A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, Mojgani works on the covers for his own books as well as occasionally providing work for others. Originally from New Orleans, he currently lives in Portland, OR.


“Mojgani is one of the rare poets who is as accomplished on the page as he is on the stage…he is one of the best poets in America, and maybe the world.” —Greg Netzer, executive director of the Wordstock Festival

“Anis was AMAZING!  He blew the roof off of this place and left kids excited and talking and wanting to start slam poetry clubs. He brought the largest voluntary audience for a writer/performer I’ve seen here in years, around 400 people.  Kids who were indifferent to poetry have completely redefined their definitions; kids who love poetry are now besotted. He should speak at every high school and college in the country.” —Joel Thomas-Adams, after Mojgani visited Deerfield Academy

Anis Mojgani’s website

Anis Mojgani the author of In the Pockets of Small GodsThe Pocketknife BibleSongs From Under The RiverThe Feather Room, and Over the Anvil We Stretch. He 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, his work has appeared on HBO, NPR, and in such journals as Rattle, Paper Darts, Forklift Ohio, and Used Furniture Review.

Anis Mojgani’s latest collection of poetry explores what we do with grief, long after the initial sadness has faded from our daily lives: how we learn to carry it without holding it, how our joy and our pain touch, and at times need one another. In the Pockets of Small Gods touches on many kinds of sorrow, from the suicide of a best friend to a broken marriage to the current political climate. Mojgani swings between the surreal imagery and direct vulnerability he is known for, all while giving the poems a direct frankness, softening whatever the weight may be. A book of leaves and petals as opposed to a book of stones, In the Pockets of Small Gods encapsulates the human experience in a way that is both deeply personal and astoundingly universal.

Like much of Mojgani’s work, The Pocketknife Bible asks the reader to align one-self with rediscovering wonder. For the first time, Mojgani has given us a collection that combines his poems with his illustrations, at times using them to infuse and inform one another. The poems and pictures of The Pocketknife Bible climb through the child-like heart of its author to bring stories from the well that are enhanced by the imagery. This book is a celebration of childhood and family, or rather the mythology of what that entails, exploring the intersection of how we may have once seen the world and how we remember how we saw it. This is an almost-children’s book for those who might no longer be young, but could use a map to find their way back to that world.

After six years of touring the country, Mojgani has combed through out-of-print editions to put together a best-of collection for his third Write Bloody release. Popular poems (some with over 200,000 hits on YouTube) such as “Direct Orders (rock out),” “Shake the Dust,” “Here Am I,” and more are collected here alongside lost poems, favorite poems, and new unpublished works. The book showcases what audiences have come to expect from Mojgani—uplifting words, playful surrealism, and the journey through imagination. Songs From Under the River allows fans and new readers alike the chance to follow the trajectory of Anis’ development, themes, and style of work over his 15-year career.

The Feather Room explores storytelling in poetic form while traveling down the path of magic realism, endowing Mojgani’s tales with a greater sense of fantasy and brightness. The work recounts loss and heartbreak while discovering lightness and beauty on the other side. Throughout the book, Mojgani opens tree trunks to reveal chandeliers, leading us through the rooms inside himself and using poems to part curtains and paint walls.

Over The Anvil, We Stretch contains swampy, powerful poems that are as exciting as the pocketknife you got for your birthday, the three-legged frog on the lawn and the jar of marbles your mother kept in the kitchen. Mojgani’s poems are the sound of the river and the stars burning above. He manages to capture the axe in the stump with blood still on the handle. These are memories of a life, captured through the blue green filter of the bayou. They move forward honestly, brutally, and sweetly.


The man in the woods
holds his arms out like handlebars
ad imagines someone riding him
like a bicycle
—some pretty girl
who could use her long hair to turn him magically.
She would shine him every day after school.
In the sunlight
he would look so pretty
turning in her hands.

— from The Feather Room


a heart made of marbles
a pocket filled with crumbs of colored paper
a train tunnel painted pink
swallowing a paintbrush
filling the pillowcases with sand
breaking eggs just for the sound
our anvils become flocks of tiny geese
bending ourselves over them
we become water
all the light sits on us

— from The Feather Room