Biographical Details

David Olsen is a poet, playwright, and fiction writer with a BA in chemistry from University of California-Berkeley and an MA in English and creative writing from San Francisco State University. He was formerly an energy economist, management consultant, and performing arts critic. Olsen’s Unfolding Origami (80pp, 2015) won the Cinnamon Press Poetry Collection Award, and Past Imperfect (78pp, 2019) is also from Cinnamon Press.  After Hopper & Lange, his third full-length collection, is due from Oversteps Books in 2021. Four poetry chapbooks are from US publishers. He has lived in Oxford since 2002.


This is not about Mickey Mouse™

and his big round ears, three-fingered hands,

little-girl voice, partial nudity, and yellow clogs.


No. This is not about Mickey Mouse ™.


If it were, some dark night I would hear

a knock on the door at 3, and Disney’s thugs

would rouse me out of bed, cover my head

with a hood, dump me in the back of a van,

and drag me to a dank basement somewhere.

They would shine a bright light in my face,

inflict upon me unspeakable horrors,

and deprive me of sleep – all in defence

of wholesome family entertainment.


© David Olsen



Thirteen Algonquin Moons

Wolf howls in the winter wind.

Snow glistens in a crystalline sky.


Worm awakens stirring in the earth.

Pink summons colour to grey land.


Flower blooms before the stars.

Strawberry sweetens flesh.


Buck dominates the rut.

Sturgeon sheens silver waters.


Harvest gathers the year’s yield.

Hunter presides over the kill.


Beaver shelters against the chill.

Cold opposes the early dark.


Blue rises over an arbitrary calendar.

© David Olsen


Stockholm to Birka


Aboard the ferry

to the Viking village,

as if in a concert hall,

for two hours

I’ve nothing else to do.


The wind’s a stave

of measured time,

and I’m entwined

between a legato wake

and a diesel’s thrumming bass.


A granite glissando

scores the edge of each

islet in this archipelago;

an arpeggio of pines

lines every horizon.


Above, a chorus

of cumulus shape-shifts

like the borders of Poland.

Shimmering wisps

of cirrus are silver flutes.


For two hours

I’ve nothing to do

but immerse myself

in the muted harmonies

of this cloud concerto.


© David Olsen