Marin County, California Poet Laureate Terry Lucas

Nov 18, 2019

Poet Terry Lucas graduated from New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy in 1974. The Poet Laureate of Marin County, California was in Las Cruces for campus visit.  While he was here, Lucas talked with Fred Martino.


After graduating from seminary at age 26, and an ensuing career in the ministry, Terry Lucas spent more than two decades as a retail executive. In 2004, he returned to graduate school part-time at Columbia College Chicago to pursue an MFA in creative writing, studying under David Trinidad, Suzanne Buffam and others. At the close of his first semester, his company transferred him back to the San Francisco bay area.

​Following a nation-wide search for a program that might fit his needs, he found the low-residency, single genre (poetry) MFA program at New England College, where he spent the next 2 years studying under Gerald Stern, Maxine Kumin, Michael Waters, Alicia Ostriker, Carol Frost, and Malena Morling. 

After graduating in 2008, for four years he devoted himself more fully to writing and editing while still working as a retail professional. In 2012 he began writing full-time, producing two prize-winning chapbooks. The first collection, Altar Call, was a winner in the 2013 San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival and is one of four chapbooks published in the anthology, Diesel. The second, If They Have Ears to Hear, won the Copperdome Chapbook Contest from Southeast Missouri State University Press. In addition, that year he was a master poet for Chicago’s Von Steuben High School pilot poetry program, providing guidance for student poets to write and publish their work. Since June of 2017, Terry has been a regular guest speaker, presenter, and reader for the new MFA program in creative writing at Dominican University of California.

His work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New Poets 2012, Columbia Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, Great River Review, and dozens of other national literary journals. In 2014 he was the winner of the ​Crab Orchard Review Special Feature Award in Poetry, and his work has been nominated six times for a Pushcart Prize. ​

Terry has served as an editor for MiPOesias Magazine, Fifth Wednesday Journal, OVS, and The Marin Poetry Center Newsletter. He has been an editor with Trio House Press since its founding in 2011 until recently, serving as lead editor for five of its book projects, initially directing sales and marketing, and then sharing executive editor responsibilities with Tayve Neese, before stepping down in order to devote more time to his writing and teaching. He now is affiliated with the press as a member of its advisory board.

​Terry's full-length poetry collection, In This Room, was released by CW Books in February of 2016, and his second full-length collection, Dharma Rain, was released from Saint Julian press in October of 2016. His current projects include finalizing his first memoir, Flight, and his fifth poetry collection, ​Love is a Many-Splintered Thing. Terry resides in Mill Valley, California with his life partner of twelve years. He is the sixth Poet Laureate of Marin County California.