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Terry Lucas

Award-Winning Poet, Author, Editor, Poetry Coach, & Reading Series Host

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Poems of risk: writing outside of your comfort zone...


  • Saturday June 1-July 13 (six sessions via Zoom—we will skip July 6)

  • 1:00-3:30 PM PDT (2:00-4:30 MDT; 3:00 – 5:30 CDT; 4:00-6:30 EDT.)


This six-week workshop will look at your lyrical / narrative poems in any form (free verse, prose poem, formal, etc.) and look at strategies for breaking out of your comfort zone. Among others, we will utilize craft elements and examples from Kevin Clark’s The Mind’s Eye: A Guide to Writing Poetry. About the language of risk, Clark writes: “Because all human beings harbor strange ideas and habits, what seems odd may actually be the norm. In order to find an original or true voice in their poetry, good poets find ways to mine their own interior eccentricities.” Each week we will open the workshop with a poem by a prominent poet and discuss what elements can help you write outside of your comfort zone. Then we will look at your poems in light of taking risks. Of course, any craft element may be discussed that can strengthen your poems.

Refunds. Between now and June 4, an 80% refund will be issued upon email cancellation. After the first workshop and before the second workshop, a 60% refund will be issued upon email cancellation. After the second workshop, no refunds will be issued. Email for cancellation is


Terry Lucas is the author of two prize-winning chapbooks and three full-length poetry collections: In This Room (CW Books, 2016), Dharma Rain (Saint Julian Press, 2016), and most recently The Thing Itself (Longship Press, 2020) with photographer Gary Topper. Terry’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous national and international journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New Poets (2012), B O D Y, Crab Orchard Review, Green Mountains Review, and The Sun, among others. Terry taught as a master poet for the pilot poetry program in Von Steuben High School in Chicago, was a founding editor of Trio House Press, and a regular guest speaker for the Dominican university of California's low-residency MFA program. He holds a Master of Education degree from Southwestern Seminary and a Master of Fine Arts (poetry) from New England College. For ten years, as Terry Lucas:Poetry Coach, he has mentored beginning, emerging, and established poets, helping them to produce their best work and see it published. Terry is Poet Laureate Emeritus of Marin County, California. Learn more about Terry and his work at


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HISTORY: Terry grew up in Farmington, New Mexico about 30 miles from Shiprock, the peak visible behind this page. Although he fell in love with poetry as an undergraduate at New Mexico State University, studying under Keith Wilson, it wasn't until after he had graduated from seminary, spent three years in the ministry and more than two decades as a retail executive, that he returned to graduate school for an MFA in creative writing. He first attended Columbia College Chicago, studying under David Trinidad and Suzanne Buffam, and later graduated from New England College, after spending two and one half years studying under Gerald Stern, Maxine Kumin, Michael Waters, Alicia Ostriker, Carol Frost, Malena Morling, and other acclaimed poets. 

PUBLICATIONS: Terry's most recent poetry collection, The Thing Itself (Longship Press, 2020) with photographs by Gary Topper, is now available for order HERE. His previous books are Dharma Rain (Saint Julian Press, 2016), In This Room (CW Books, 2016), If They Have Ears to Hear, winner of the Copperdome Chapbook Award (Southeastern State University Press, 2013), and Altar Call (a winner in the San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival, 2012). His poems, essays, articles, memoir pieces, short fiction, and reviews can be found in numerous national literary journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New Poets, Columbia Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Green Mountains Review, Prime Number Magazine, and The Sun. See "Publications" below to purchase books and for a complete list of journals and links to his online work.


TEACHING & CONSULTING: Terry has taught as 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. In 2019, he was appointed the sixth Poet Laureate of Marin County, California. Currently he is a free-lance poetry coach, helping other poets achieve their writing and publishing goals. See "Poetry Coach" below for more information about his consulting business...


EDITING: Terry has served as a guest 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, 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, and serves as a guest editor of The Banyan Review.

AWARDS: In addition to the prizes his chapbooks have won, his numerous awards include The ​Crab Orchard Review Special Feature Award in Poetry, the Littoral Press Poetry Prize, and seven Pushcart Prize nominations, among others. In 2019 Terry was selected as the sixth Poet Laureate of Marin County California.


CURRENTLY: Writing projects include finalizing his first memoir, Flight: One Man's Escape from Religious Fundamentalism (recently excerpted in issue #66 of Great River Review), finding the right agent to bring it to market, and completing his sixth poetry collection, Everything: New & Selected Poems. He is also working on a manuscript of centos, one for each of the volumes in the Best American Poetry Series. Terry continues to write reviews of poetry collections and provide support and feedback to poets from California to Toronto to Dublin through his poetry coaching business (see "Poetry Coach" below for details).

CONTACT: Terry Lucas : Poetry Coach at or call at (415) 283-7058 and leave a message.


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Terry Lucas is a word master who brings to his editorial work a keen poetic eye and ear. Attuned to his authors' needs, acute in his assessments, and generously proactive in his editorial collaboration, he can make a manuscript truly sing.

David Groff, Lambda Award-Winning independent book editor, writer, poet, teacher, publishing consultant, and literary agent scout, New York, New York,

When I first met Terry, I was in love with writing but riddled with self-doubt. Each time I put my pen to the page, I felt a little bit like a fraud. In the three years since then, my weekly sessions with Terry have helped me gain confidence in my own voice. They've also helped me understand that I can allow room for my voice to change as I become better attuned to both the mystery and craft of poetry. 

Since meeting Terry, I've stopped dabbling in poetry and now actually write it. I've been honored to have several poems place, become finalists, or win in major competitions. In 2019, I was the second-place winner in the Frontier Poetry OPEN competition and the first-place winner of Frontier's Industry Prize. Terry helped me assemble my first full-length manuscript, which was a semi-finalist for the 2019 Philip Levine Poetry Prize. I was also recently accepted for admission to Trinity College, Dublin's M. Phil. in Creative Writing program.

None of this would have taken place without Terry's generous guidance and support, and to say I'm grateful would be a remarkable understatement. I can't recommend his coaching services enough.

Elizabeth Oxley, Poet,

I'm not exaggerating when I write that Terry Lucas is the reason that I'm a published poet. Based upon his thoughtful review of my work and his broad knowledge of the literary journal universe, I followed his advice and received three acceptances in one month. He's the best!

Merna Skinner, President, Satori Communications, Inc., Los Angeles, California, 

Terry Lucas is a poetry consultant who guided me through writing revising, choosing, and submitting my first three published poems over a period of four months! His personal understanding and encouragement, his artistic skill and insight, and his professional knowledge and experience took me and my poetry writing to new places and possibilities. I went from the guy writing a poem entitled "If I Were a Poet" to getting that poem published, and at long last, to seeing myself as a poet. He welcomed me into that community of poets that is so important to him, and that had seemed so closed to me before I met Terry. What gifts he has as a poet. What a gift he is as a mentor.

Jim Benton, retired schoolteacher and poet, Ft. Worth, Texas

Terry Lucas is an editor whose insight and precision strengthens the writer's aim as he points to what must be tightened, developed, or reconsidered. He is an editor who never fails to find the pulse of a writer's work, making sure that what is on the page is aligned with the writer's vision.

Tayve Neese, poet, essayist, Co-Executive editor of Trio House Press and Founder of The Banyan Review,,,

My experience with Terry Lucas has profoundly changed my relationship with poetry writing.  Prior to working with Terry, I would have never considered submitting poetry to journals.  I do that now, with some confidence, and I feel that my poems have something to offer.  He has helped me to feel that I have something genuine and worthwhile to give through my writing. 


I greatly admire Terry’s wonderful musical ear, and his careful and thoughtful approach to meter. I strongly feel that he could provide concrete help to any aspiring poet.


He is also incredibly patient.  He combines a consistently supportive and sensitive presence with an unfailingly kind approach.  Having worked with other poetry coaches in the past, I know that not every would-be mentor is fortunate enough to possess these invaluable strengths!


Terry has also brought a willingness to understand my particular situation.  He has always been sensitive to the constraints I face in developing my writing while simultaneously trying to meet the demands of a fairly strenuous “day job”.  Yet, he also consistently challenges me to grow as a poet.


Without hesitation, I would recommend Terry Lucas to anyone seeking a poetry coach or mentor.


Brian Collinson, Registered Psychotherapist (CRPO) & Jungian Psychoanalyst (IAAP), Ontario, Canada

One of the best things I’ve done for myself is to hire Terry Lucas as a poetry coach. I had written plenty of poems but had no idea how to develop my work into a manuscript. Terry walked me through his process of selecting and ordering my poems, and over six weeks we went through each individual piece to improve it. He provided insight into word choice, word placement, enjambment, decluttering, and so much more, without changing my poetic voice. He gave me fresh ideas for the overall structure of the manuscript to ensure it stands out. Through the process, he was always available on email between our weekly calls. His expertise, knowledge of the publishing industry, and intense focus on my work left me with a manuscript I’m proud of, as well as new skills to improve my poems. Terry is a pleasure to work with. I recommend him to all my writing friends.

Lisa Alletson, Toronto, Canada, author of prize-winning Good Mother Lizard, 



The Thing Itself

This is really a magnificent book. Asking myself what the hinge is between [Lucas's] poems and [Topper's] photographs, I think of words like "intensity," "clarity," "acceptance of what is, or was," and above all, incredible attention to detail. But below all, there's mystery. And spirit [that] wants the presence of spirit.


Alicia Ostriker, Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and New York State Poet Laureate

Dharma Rain (Saint Julian Press, 2016)

From grim realities to wry humor, these poems confront the mysteries of science, faith, and desire in exquisite forms, delicious language, and keen intelligence. 

       Wendy Barker, The Pearl LeWinn Professor of Creative Writing at the         University of Texas at San Antonio

In his fresh new visions of the world stripped of its former fashions, ideologies, and mythologies, Lucas writes as if he's observing the world for the first time on his own heuristic terms, in both dexterously form and free verse. 

       Chard deNiord, Poet Laureate of Vermont


In This Room (CW Books, 2016)

A look into our American life--steadily remembered and imagined, rich with detail, by turns languorous and startling. 

       Carol Frost, Holder of the Theodore Bruce and Barbara Lawrence     

       Alford Chair of English at Rollins College

"The Gate" is an enormous poem--of course, it's Hart Crane more than anybody else, though it's not entirely Hart. Though it is entirely "Heart." The language is absolutely lovely--very unusual for these days.

       Gerald Stern, winner of The National Book Award and The Lamont

       Poetry Prize



If They Have Ears to Hear

(Southeastern Missouri State University Press, 2013)


In poems both meditative and painterly, Lucas acknowledges silence and mystery as he charts our "voyage through the dark" of a non-receptive yet always redemptive universe. If They Have Ears to Hear is a meticulous and compelling collection.

       Michael Waters, Guggenheim Fellow, Fullbright Scholar, former chair 

       of the poetry panel for the National Book Award, and author     

       of thirteen poetry collections, most recently Caw (BOA, 2020).


Terry Lucas's poems, essays and reviews, and memoir and fiction pieces have appeared or are forthcoming in over fifty print and online, national and international journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, The Banyan Review, Best New Poets, Cider Press Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Crab Orchard Review, Crosswinds Poetry Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Free State Review, Grain Magazine, Great River Review, Green Mountains Review, Naugatuck River Review, New Millennium Writings, Nostos, Pandemic Puzzle Poems, Poetry Flash, Prime Number Magazine, Puerto del Sol, Rosebud Magazine, Sin Fronteras: Writers Without Borders, Solo, South 85 Journal, The Citron Review, The Comstock Review, The Sun, THIS Literary Magazine, Voetica, Zocalo, and many other journals  and anthologies. 

For links to his online work, go to his blog, The Widening Spell, by clicking "View More" below. 




Terry Lucas : Poetry Coach

(415) 283-7058

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