Mahnaz Yousefi was born and raised in Rasht, a city in northern Iran. She developed a passion for poetry from the age of 10 and could be found on various poetry stages from the age of 14. Her performances and publications in magazines ensured that her name began to circulate within the Iranian poetry community. She is part of the young generation of Iranian poets who are outspoken on topics on which there are firm taboos in Iran, such as sexuality and sexual freedom. In her writing, she gives urgency to ethnic and local issues by choosing her words very evocatively.
Yousefi debuted in 2009 with Condolences to the Woman. Six years later, in 2015, she published her second collection, The Dogs Got Back to the Streets. The charge of the poems led to censorship by the Iranian government. Publication processes were delayed and lines from the poem Rasht were not allowed to be included in her poetry debut, upon which Yousefi decided to delete the poem from the collection altogether. Thanks to poet and translator Alireza Taheri Araghi who included Rasht in her English-language anthology I am a Face Symphatizing with Your Grief: Seven Younger Iranian Poets, it was eventually published. The beautiful poem reads like a cynical love letter to the city in which Yousefi grew up.
Yousefi studied law in Tehran, where she is doing a master's degree in cognitive linguistics, specializing in Gilaki morphology. Gilaki is one of the Iranian languages spoken in the north of the country. Yousefi seeks depth in Gilaki literature and history.