ANIS MOJGANI'S AESTHETIC may remind you of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, but his words are clear—and moving. "Shake the Dust," arguably Mojgani's most iconic poem, has close to one million views on YouTube, and every time I listen, I get chills. He's so good that even the comments sections on his videos are pleasant, full of (correctly spelled!) emotional reactions to his writing: "this brings me to tears every time," "brilliant," "amazing amazing amazing." Tonight, the two-time winner of the National Poetry Slam and a regular TEDx speaker headlines a (free!) poetry show at Literary Arts.
Hosted in the organization's newly remodeled space downtown, the show will also feature Mindy Nettifee and Brian S. Ellis. Along with Mojgani, they're writers with books out from Write Bloody Publishing, the small press founded by poet Derrick Brown in 2004, and based in Austin. Nettifee is the author of two books from Write Bloody: a poetry collection, Rise of the Trust Fall and the nontraditional writer's guide, Glitter in the Blood: A Poet's Manifesto for Better, Braver Writing. She's also a co-founder of the Write Now Poetry Society, a literary nonprofit that seeks to "increase the audience for poetry through performance, education, publishing, and grant-making." Ellis has published work with Portland's own University of Hell Press and two books from Write Bloody: Yesterday Won't Goodbye and Uncontrolled Experiments in Freedom, which Boston poet Simone Beaubien describes as a book "filled with tangentially familiar characters—family misremembered, friends still to be met—all delivered with Brian's deft eloquence and inescapable sense of punk nostalgia."
Punk nostalgia is an equally apt descriptor for the work of headliner Mojgani, who writes in "Shake the Dust," "[W]hen the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob and open on up, running forward into its widespread greeting arms with your hands before you, fingertips trembling though they may be."