Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday the appointment of two-time National Poetry Slam champion Anis Mojgani as Oregon’s tenth Poet Laureate. Mojgani succeeds poet Kim Stafford, who has held the position since 2018.
“Anis is the pragmatic optimist Oregon needs in these unprecedented times,” said Brown. “His words breathe fresh air into the anxiety and negativity that we all feel. He urges us to resolutely reflect in the moment and with each grounding breath, our hearts ‘come closer and come into this.’”
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Mojgani was born in New Orleans to African American and Iranian parents and moved to Oregon in 2004. He is the author of five poetry books. The latest, “In the Pockets of Small Gods,” published in 2018. Mojgani's work has been commissioned by the Getty Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum, and the premiere of his first opera libretto, “Sanctuaries,” is scheduled for April 2021.
A committee of writers, poets and cultural leaders reviewed nominations for the poet laureate role in February and made its recommendation to the Oregon Cultural Trust and its statewide partners. Brown approved the committee’s recommendation last week.
As poet laureate, Mojgani will provide up to 20 public readings per year across the state to inform community, business and state leaders about the value and importance of poetry and creative expression. But until social distancing ends and public gatherings are once again possible, he will explore online ways to connect with Oregonians.
Mojgani will assume the role May 4.