Salem, Ore. – Anis Mojgani (AH-neess Mozh-GAH-nee) will remain Oregon Poet Laureate through 2024, Governor Kate Brown announced today. Mojgani, a two-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam and an International World Cup Poetry Slam winner, was named Poet Laureate of Oregon in May of 2020 shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“I applaud Anis for his creative efforts to connect with Oregonians during the pandemic,” said Governor Brown. “He now has the opportunity to travel and make the personal connections that can be so powerful. Extending his term allows him to fulfill his vision as Poet Laureate.”
Born in New Orleans to Black and Iranian parents, Mojgani first called Oregon home in 2004. He is the author of five books of poetry including his latest, “In the Pockets of Small Gods.” Mojgani has done commissioned work for the Getty Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the Portland Timbers. He penned the libretto for the opera, “Sanctuaries,” which premiered September 2021. His work has appeared on HBO, National Public Radio, in the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day series, and in the NY Times, as well as in such journals as Rattle, Platypus, Winter Tangerine, Forklift Ohio and Bat City Review. His performance credits include hundreds of universities across the U.S. as well as international festivals such as the Sydney Writer’s Festival, Jamaica’s Calabash festival and Seoul’s Young Writer’s Festival. His audiences range from the United Nations to the House of Blues and Portland’s Pickathon music festival.
“As Oregon’s Poet Laureate during COVID, Anis has been flexible, energetic and creative, delivering poems from windows, over the phone, via broadsides and more,”
said Adam Davis, executive director of Oregon Humanities, who administers the Poet Laureate program on behalf of the Cultural Trust. “Going forward, we’re really excited about how he’ll continue, in more ways than ever, to bring poetry and Oregonians together.”
First coming to poetry by way of visual arts, Mojgani earned a BFA in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art & Design in Georgia. He has been awarded artist and writer residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, AIR Serenbe, The Bloedel Nature Reserve and The Sou’wester. He has taught and mentored for Portland’s Writers-In-The-Schools, in the KSMoCA Artist Mentorship program and at Wallowa County’s Fishtrap, and currently serves on the board of directors for Literary Arts. Mojgani resides in Portland.
“So very much looking forward to having the opportunity to serve a second term as our state’s Poet Laureate, and honored to do such,” said Mojgani. “I look forward to continuing this work in the shape it has taken inside the world of the pandemic and also to expanding what the work might look like as the pandemic shifts and hopefully lessens its hold on how we are able to gather together.”
The Oregon Poet Laureate fosters the art of poetry, encourages literacy and learning, addresses central issues relating to humanities and heritage, and reflects on public life in Oregon. Mojgani will provide up to 20 public readings per year in settings across the state to inform community, business and state leaders about the value and importance of poetry and creative expression. The program is funded by the Oregon Cultural Trust.
Past Oregon Poets Laureate are: Edwin Charles Markham (1921–1940); Ben Hur Lampman (1951–1954); Ethel Romig Fuller (1957–1965); William Stafford (1974–1989); Lawson Inada (2006–2010); Paulann Petersen (2010-2014); Peter Sears (2014-2016); Elizabeth Woody (2016-2018); and Kim Stafford (2018-2020).
To learn more about the Oregon Poet Laureate program visit the Poet Laureate website.
About the Oregon Cultural Trust
The Oregon Cultural Trust is an innovative, statewide private-public program raising significant new funds to support and protect Oregon’s arts, humanities and heritage. In addition to the creation of a permanent endowment, funds are distributed annually through three multifaceted, wide-ranging grant programs. No other state in the nation has a program like the Oregon Cultural Trust, which has been ranked with the bottle bill and the vote-by-mail bill as among Oregon’s most forward-thinking public policy measures. More information at culturaltrust.org.
About Oregon Humanities
Oregon Humanities is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and a partner of the Oregon Cultural Trust. Through its programs and publications—which include the Conversation Project, Bridging Oregon, Think & Drink, Humanity in Perspective, Public Program Grants, Responsive Program Grants, and Oregon Humanities magazine—Oregon Humanities connects Oregonians to ideas that change lives and transform communities. More information at oregonhumanities.org.