Michael Oliver-Semenov

New Welsh writing in English from Russia


‘I am recommending Michael Oliver aka Mao the Poet to you. He has been extensively involved in the Blown project for over 5 years. The reason we have been keen to work with him is because he is flexible, professional, reliable and highly amenable, and it goes without saying that he is an exceptionally talented wordsmith.’

Ric Bower

Blown Magazine, editor in chief.


‘Mao Oliver Semenov is a truly original and vibrant voice in Welsh poetry. Back here we are eagerly awaiting his first collection. His award winning Russian themed poems really show a man embracing his adopted homeland and show us here in Wales of another side to Russia rarely depicted.’

John Abell

Runner up, Welsh Artist Of The Year 2013, Welsh Printmaker of The Year 2013, Winner Of The Josef Herman Centenary Print Bursary.


‘Michael Oliver's pieces ask to be read out loud by an audience. They have a quirky comical surface, but watch out. There are thorns underneath’

Dannie Abse, CBE, fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.


‘Michael Oliver-Semenov is a sort of unofficial reverse missionary from Siberia to the UK. Having brought his wry wit from one misunderstood, poetic country to another, he uses humorous observation to build a very real bridge of understanding.’

Katy Evans-Bush

Poet and critic; Shortlisted for the 2012 George Orwell Prize for political writing


‘Oliver has an illuminating poet’s eye: caustic, irreverent, unselfish and original. He finds poems in the darkness shining his poets light’

Lemn Sissay, MBE

Official 2007Artist in Residence at London's Southbank Centre, Official poet of the 2012 London Olympics, Honorary Doctor of Letters University of Huddersfield.


"These poems have a raw energy about them that can only come from bold, riotous performance. Self-deprecating and wise, they are full, not only with laughter at the follies of everyday life, but with sadness too at its poignancy. They work to deflate pomposity where they find it, and celebrate a bleakly beautiful urban world." --- Zoë Brigley 


'Very good and original!' - Attila the Stockbroker

'These poems confirm Oliver's originality. They are violent and self-mocking, yet vital and attentive.' - Rachel Trezise

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