Michael Oliver-Semenov

New Welsh writing in English from Russia


After seven years in the making, The Elephant's Foot is finally released. Unlike the release of Sunbathing in Siberia, there will be no book tour in the UK as I have a small family that needs me to remain in Russia. However, a box of books has been dispatched to my home in Siberia and there will be a launch, probably in July/August. If you can't make it to Krasnoyarsk for that I have made several recordings which will go live on the Parthian website soon.

If you don't need to see any live readings and just want to get a copy of the book, go here:


Wales Arts Review were kind enough to publish a piece on how this collection came to being. There is also one poem from the collection that is very new and unpublished anywhere else: 


Meanwhile in Russia Newslab interviewed me recently in relation to Elephant. It's only available in Russian. To read it, go here:


Finally, both the New Welsh Review and Walesonline were kind enough to give me some space. The NWR piece can be read here:


As there is no official launch in Wales, the poet Sion Tomos Owen will be reading from The Elephant's Foot at Parthian’s New Generation Summer Reading Party, which will be held at Octavo’s Book Cafe & Wine Bar, West Bute Street, Cardiff Bay CF10 5LJ on Tuesday 26 July, 6-8pm, free entry.

If you want to know more about my previous work please take a look at a previous interview with Walesonline here:




Several poems from this collection have previously been published in various online journals. If you want to take a look at some of the poems this collection includes, please click on the following links:











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


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

Previous publications

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:


recently released

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:


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