Hello and welcome to my website. Also - thanks for looking it up. It doesn't get a huge amount of traffic because I don't update it as often as I should. But - seeing as it's a cold Siberian Sunday morning, it's miserable as hell outside and I've got nothing else to do other than mark my student's homework, I thought I'd write a few bits on here.
The biggest and most important piece of news I can share with you right now is the forthcoming release of my new book The Elephant's Foot (see below), in August this year. I have been informed by Parthian Books that there will be several launches with cake and wine and all the trimmings. However, it's likely that I won't be at any of them. This has everything to do with the Russian rouble losing 50% of its value in the middle of last year (for reasons unknown). I think my current Siberian teacher's wage works out as something like $300 a month (less than 200 English quid). Even if I could afford flights, I wouldn't be able to afford the bus from Heathrow Airport to any of the launches. Or food.....or ....anything.
I now regard myself as firmly stuck in Siberia with no way out whatsoever.
The upside of this of course is that YOU get to eat more of the cake and drink more of the free wine.
If the rouble doesn't recover then all launches will go ahead using magic-future-video-motion-picture-technology-software - also known as SKYPE. I've used it for launches in the past, it works. As the Russians say - everything will be fine.
Money is worth nothing - everything will be fine.
There's no food in the shop - everything will be fine.
The water has been switched off - everything will be fine.
Other notable news is that the best poem I think I've ever written is soon to be published online by Ink, Sweat and Tears. I will paste the link here as soon as I get it. Can't think of anything else right now. Enjoy the website. The pictures page is the best bit. Ciao. M
An origami crane in remembrance of Hiroshima. A father's faded old photograph of his 1970s pre-marital sports car. Youths congregated at a bus stop. The sounds of an empty house after the children have flown the nest. Common phrases spoken by US tourists. Gangs fighting to the death. Radioactive clouds raining down over Europe. A collection of Princess Diana memorabilia. Teaching English in Siberia. These are just a handful of the themes touched upon in Michael Oliver-Semenov's deeply personal and introspective first poetry collection.
Without aiming to be a survival guide, romance or autobiography, Sunbathing in Siberia manages to be all of them and none. Told completely from the Trans-Siberian and a series of Russian jets, this is the story of a young British poet, who, after becoming engaged to his translator over 3500 miles east, embarks on a journey into the very heart of Siberia to marry his fiancée. However, in place of the desolate wasteland he expected to find, Michael discovers the side of Siberia little known outside of Russia. After 30 years of British rain, Michael has finally to learn the art of sunbathing, in the last place on Earth anyone would think to take a pair of flip-flops.
With little knowledge of post-Soviet Russia, or its language; and without any survival skills, Michael has to adapt to the Siberian way of life. As Russia struggles to find its new identity, Michael too is forced to recreate himself, while finding the tools needed to live with parading nuclear missiles, wild bears, and a host of extreme dangers.
After his debut publication in 2009, Cardiff born Michael Oliver-Semenov served as the first poet in residence for Blown, the magazine of cultural intelligence, and has since published in a plethora of magazines and journals worldwide, including the The Morning Star, Orbis, Mandala Review and Ink Sweat and Tears, to name just a few. In 2011 Michael emigrated to Siberia to live with his wife Anastasia. When he is not growing vegetables at the family dacha in summer, or avoiding the wild Siberian hounds of winter, Michael is also a freelance English teacher and occasionally contributes to The Siberian Times. He will be on tour promoting Sunbathing in Siberia and poetry collection The Elephant's Foot (Parthian, June 2015) in June 2014 and again in June 2015. Keep an eye on the Parthian website for further details.
For a behind the scenes look at Mao's writing technique go here: http://parthianbooks.com/content/behind-scenes-authors-media
For a visual guide to Sunbathing in Siberia go here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.787063854660164.1073741847.168031543230068&type=1
For a snapshot of what it was like in the middle of the book tour go here: http://www.newwelshreview.com/article.php?id=778
For a sense of how it all felt when the tour was over go here: http://www.parthianbooks.com/content/coloured-pens-long-beards-and-non-linear-narratives-michael-oliver-semenov-writing-and-editi
New Welsh Review have kindly reviewed Sunbathing here: http://www.newwelshreview.com//article.php?id=811
Mandala Journal (University of Georgia USA) 2013 Issue:
Ink Sweat & Tears (Summer Issue 2013):
Samples of poetry can be seen on page 119 of the recent Lampeter Review:
And on page 63 of The Lampeter Review issue 5:
Blown e-zine issue 1:
Blown e-zine issue 2:
To read an interview with Mao go here:
In 2010 Mao created and conducted the world’s first international poetry orchestra which performed in German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and Russian, to celebrate the opening of his first poetry to painting collaboration ‘A Kind of Rubaiyat’ with the artist Jemma Bailey:
To read a review of Ten of the Best in Buzz Magazine go to page 46:
To read reviews of Cheval 5 go here:
The very best young Welsh writers have teamed up with the very best young Mauritian writers to produce this very handsome and very large anthology. The project is in its final stage and should be available at only the bestest bookshops sometime in November.
Launch dates and venues will be arranged soon and will be listed here:https://www.facebook.com/youngdodosmeetyoungdragons