He enjoyed the special favour of the Sultan Sanjar, whom he attended in all his warlike expeditions.
On one occasion, when the sultan was besieging the fortress of Hazarasp, a fierce poetical conflict was maintained between Anwari and his rival Rashidi, who was within the beleaguered castle, by means of verses fastened to arrows.
His literary powers are considerable, as shown in his famous lament over the ruin caused by the Ghuzz tribesmen in Khurasan, and his exercises in irony and ridicule make pungent reading. He was adept in astrology and considered himself to be superior to his contemporaries in logic, music, theology, mathematics and all other intellectual pursuits.
It appears that his patrons after Sultan Sanjar failed to value his services as highly as he did himself; at any rate he considered their rewards inadequate. Either that fact or jealousy of his rivals caused him to renounce the writing of eulogies and of ghazals, although it is difficult to decide at what point in his career this took place. His satires doubtless created him enemies. His declining fortunes led to persistent complaint against capricious Fate. In style and language he is sometimes obscure, so that Dawlatshah declares that he needs a commentary. That obscurity, and a change in literary taste, may be one reason for his comparative neglect.
Anwari died at Balkh towards the end of the 12th century. The Diwan, or collection of his poems, consists of a series of long poems, and a number of simpler lyrics. His longest piece, The Tears of Khorassan, was translated into English verse by Captain Kirkpatrick.