In the face of hardship, a star of spoken words did thrive, so for one more spell, our elected leader invests belief in that drive.
Gov. Kate Brown has officially reappointed Anis Mojgani to a second term (through 2024) as Oregon’s poet laureate — a title given to someone to advance interest + engagement in the art form around the state.
When Anis first took on the role in May 2020, he faced the challenge of reaching audiences while keeping people socially distant in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. But as it often does, adversity gave way to creativity; stuck at home like everyone else, he began to conduct virtual readings and workshops.
The poet is a two-time National Poetry Slam champion, a one-time World Cup winner, and has authored five books (with another planned for next spring), but one could argue his greatest impact has been more subtle, through outreach efforts in the Portland community and beyond.
Anis regularly emcees events like Verselandia, an annual youth poetry slam organized by Literary Arts. In March, he teamed up with friend Jenn Batchelor to perform poetry + music from the window of his studio at sunset. This bring-your-own-chair occasion has grown into a neighborhood tradition, drawing scores of eager listeners. The next show is planned for May 20, but check his Instagram page just to be sure.
And now, another project originally put on hold is gathering steam during National Poetry Month. The Tele-Poem Hotline is a collaboration between Anis and several former poet laureates; anyone can call (503) 928-7008 to hear a daily poem read to them.
As for what comes next …