• Lucas, Martin

    Martin LucasMartin Lucas

    (1962 – 2014)

    Martin Lucas, a remarkable haiku poet, essayist, founder and editor of Presence, was found dead in April 2014. His unexpected death shocked the haiku community and resulted in some very touching tributes by fellow haiku poets and friends.

    Martin was born in 1962 in Middlesbrough, England.  He lived and worked in Preston.  He had a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Kent at Canterbury, and an M.A. in Religious Studies from Lancaster University, which included a dissertation on Zen Buddhism.  In 2001 he was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing by the University of Wales, Cardiff, for his thesis, Haiku in Britain: Theory, Practice, Context. Martin was president of the British Haiku Society (from 2003 to 2006) and author and co-editor of several books and anthologies. Martin was also a keen bird-watcher and he kept extensive records of his bird sightings and regularly assisted local groups and the British Trust for Ornithology in their efforts to monitor bird population patterns.  Some of Martin’s bird haiku were included in two nature-oriented anthologies.

    Martin’s “first ‘live’ encounter with haiku took place in the autumn of 1986 at the beginning of a Creative Writing course at the City Lit., Holborn, London, tutored by Mark Williams” (Blithe Spirit, Volume 6 Number 4, December 1996) but his first publications appeared on the pages of Blithe Spirit in the early 1990s. In his tribute to the late Martin Lucas his friend and fellow poet Matthew Paul writes that by 1994 Martin had not only “developed his own style to the point where he was writing classic haiku and his first tanka”, but with each new publication he “continued to hone his style further” and was widely recognised and later featured in numerous anthologies. Martin’s first collection of haiku, bluegrey, was published in 1994; followed by five more until his untimely death in 2014.

    Martin joined the British Haiku Society in 1992, and four years later in 1996 with assistance from David Steele, founded Presence – a haiku magazine, specialising in publishing high quality haiku, senryu, tanka, renku and related poetry. “Martin had started preparing for its fiftieth issue at the time of his death. The 49 issues ofPresence that Martin oversaw contain a wealth of contributions from English-language haiku poets across the world; a true global village of like-minded souls who were guided by Martin’s unwavering pursuit of excellence and his encouragement of new talent, intellectual standards and debate of the highest order.” (Matthew Paul, A Hundred Gourds 3:4 September 2014)

    Books and Anthology publications:

    • bluegrey (Hub Editions, 1994);
    • Darkness and Light (1996, Hub Editions);
    • ..Click.. (Hub Editions, 1998);
    • Violin (Bare Bones Press, 1998);
    • Moonrock (Ram Publications, 2002);
    • Earthjazz (Ram Publications, 2003);
    • Stepping Stones: a way into haiku (British Haiku Society, 2007).

    and the anthologies:

    • The Iron Book of British Haiku, ed. by David Cobb and Martin Lucas (Iron Press, 1998);
    • The New Haiku, ed. by John Barlow and Martin Lucas (Snapshot Press, 2002);
    • the tanka anthology, ed. by Michael McClintock, Pamela Miller Ness and Jim Kacian (Red Moon Press , Dec. 2003);
    • Wing Beats anthology, ed. John Barlow and Matthew Paul ( Snapshot Press, 2008);
    • Where the River Goes, ed. Allan Burns (Snapshot Press, 2013).

    Selected work:

    song of a greenfinch;
    a ray of sun on cold steps
    and a few snowdrops…

    (Blithe Spirit, Volume 3 Number 3, July 1993)


    evening hush…
    a tabby cat
    slips through the railings

    (Blithe Spirit, Volume 4 Number 1, February 1994)


    a dab of red
    in the leafy garden:
    the gnome's hat

    (Bluegrey, 1994)


    after the goodbye kiss
        the sweetness
           of a russet apple

    (Museum of Haiku Literature Award, Blithe Spirit, Volume 5 Number 2, May 1995)


    train to catch I listen to your violin

    (Violin, 1998)


    with each breath
    the pan piper's

    (Moonrock, 2002)


          a light rain …
    sweeping the moor
       the peewit’s cry


    seed of the reedmace –
    the skylark rising
    into a wide sky

    (Wing Beats, Snapshot Press, 2008)


    a moment before sunrise –
         ice singing
                beneath the swans’ feet

    (Winner of the Katikati Haiku Contest, 2010)


    on Ascension Day
    looking to the sky
    spin on the wind
    rain falls

    (the tanka anthology, ed. by Michael McClintock, Pamela Miller Ness and Jim Kacian, Red Moon Press , Dec. 2003)


    whatever it is,
    the swallows’ word
    for sparrowhawk —
    I hear them crying it
    over the fields

    (Skylark, Summer 2014)


    too much light
    in the darkness
    and not enough silence
    in the quietness
    of a winter night

    (Skylark, Winter 2014)

    Some articles:

  • Quine, Stuart

    Stuart QuineStuart Quine

    (3 November 1962 – 24 March 2020)

    Stuart Quine was born in Helsby, near Runcorn, UK, in 1962 and after working in various fields, including time in a paint factory and studying for a teaching degree, he became an Intensive Care nurse, a vocation he practised until ill-health, in the form of myotonic dystrophy, forced early retirement. Stuart loved travelling and despite visits to Morocco, Japan and Australia, one of his few regrets was that he didn’t travel more. He spent his final years in Sheffield and died on March 24, 2020, from complications arising from the Covid-19 virus.

    Steeped in a deep respect for the Japanese haiku and senryu tradition, Stuart Quine was known in the English-language haiku world for his one-line ‘monoku’ style. Within the one line of his haiku, however, he respected and reflected the rhythmic 'three-part' structure of Japanese haiku, as well as such essentially Japanese qualities as ‘karumi’, 'wabi/sabi’, the device – for the rhythm – of the ‘kire' and, sometimes, even a ‘kigo.'

    Stuart’s work was published regularly in the journals, including Presence, of which he was, for a time, co-editor, and also appeared in anthologies. He was also a fine writer of haibun.

    In spite of having been writing and publishing haiku since 1998 it was not until 2018 that Stuart’s first collection, Sour Pickle was published, by Alba Publishing. This was followed in 2019 by his second, and final, collection, Wild Rhubarb, which was awarded Third Place in the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Awards (Leroy & Mildred Kanterman Memorial Award) 2020.

    A couple of the selected haiku below appear in these two collections but in a slightly different form, as edited by Stuart. He did a lot of 'fine-tuning' before publication:

    like the honed edge of a blade keen is the cold

    (Sour Pickle (2018), as ‘crescent moon like a honed blade keen in the cold’)

    winter moon a glint of wolf in the mongrel’s eyes

    (Wild Rhubarb (2019), as ‘winter storm a gleam of wolf in the mongrel’s eyes)

    A practitioner of Soto Zen Buddhism for over 30 years, Stuart regarded his haiku writing as a dao. He was an active member of the Redthread Haiku Sangha and inspired, and encouraged the publication of, Unravelling – the Redthread Haiku Sangha anthology 1997-2019, (Alba Publishing, 2020).

    Just a few days before he died, Stuart had emailed the sangha with a customary spring greeting – he always liked to mark the equinoxes – and ended his email with what turned out to be perhaps his final (and unusually for him, three-line) haiku:

    Spring equinox –
    a brimming bucket
    mirror for a star

    Awards and Other Honours:

    Wild Rhubarb, Third Place in the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Awards (Leroy & Mildred Kanterman Memorial Award) 2020

    Stuart served as a member of The Haiku Foundation’s 2016 Touchstone Distinguished Books Award Committee.


    Sour Pickle - one-line haiku, Alba Publishing, May 2018, UK;

    Wild Rhubarb - one-line haiku, Alba Publishing, March 2019, UK;

    Unravelling - the Redthread Haiku Sangha anthology 1997-2019, Alba Publishing, February 2020. (contributor)

    Selected haiku:


    From Sour Pickle (2018):

    hidden and unseen the burgeoning life in buds and bellies

    through driving rain the ambulances’ dopplering sirens

    snagged in machair a gull feather unzipped by the wind

    distant thunder the old mouser raises an ear

    “Not yet, not yet” says the bubbling beck

    winter solstice darkness gathers in the unrung bells

    under mistletoe on her lips a tang of tamarind


    From Wild Rhubarb(2019):

    round midnight moonlight playing on the piano hammers

    a short night shrunk to a dog bark and the clanking of the trams

    through the haze the headlights of a hearse

    lassitude and languor these days without rain


    new year’s day only the rain comes to my gate

    (Presence #14)


    along the strandline seaspray and sunshimmer in knotted kelp

    (Wind over Water (4th Pacific Rim Haiku Conference anthology)


    almost weightless this empty skull that held the robin’s song

    (Presence #57)




    We are very grateful to Stuart’s publisher and friend Kim Richardson who wrote this tribute to an amazing poet and master of the monoku!