Friday, 25 April 2014

Martin Lucas

I had the pleasure and privilege of knowing Martin for about 20 years. From the outset of his involvement in the British Haiku Society, Martin was a naturally gifted haiku (and tanka) poet; then essayist, and, from 1996 when he founded Presence, the most generous and gifted of editors. I was - and will remain - in awe of his ability to notice the small things in life, to see beauty in the unlikeliest of places and to see the best in people. His body of work will, I am certain, be fully assessed in time as an achievement that is as rich and varied as any in the Anglophone haiku world.

But Martin always said that 'haiku', as we English-speakers know it, can never replicate the content of Japanese haiku because our cultural context is so different. Nevertheless, Martin's quietly beautiful poems, in which he always made every word count, are, arguably, as close to the spirit of Japanese haiku as anyone among us has managed.

Yet Martin had a profoundly English/British outlook on life: a Northerner by birth, schooled in London, university-educated in Canterbury, Lancaster and Cardiff, a supporter of his unfashionable hometown football club (Middlesbrough), brilliant birder, resident of Preston, with friends throughout England, the rest of the UK as a whole, and way beyond these shores.

What a wonderful, talented man Martin was. Rest in peace.


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Stephen Gill said...

Thank you for this. You make it quite clear, Matthew, for what reasons he will be missed. I, too, will always remember him for his quiet, inspiring confidence. He had a vision of haiku to which I also adhere, and viewed from the Japanese side, I believe it is a very well-balanced one. May the new Presence eds. wear his mantle lightly ... but not too lightly.

K Ramesh said...

Dear Mr Paul,

Recently, while browsing the net, I came to know that Mr Lucas has passed away. I was sad to hear the news! I have been in touch with him since 2001. As an editor, he has always encouraged me, and his kind words were a source of inspiration. I have learnt about the art of writing haiku from his suggestions. For the issue Presence 50, I had sent my haiku for his consideration. There is one haiku from the set that I would like to submit as a tribute to my editor friend:

the universe...
after the fall
of a shooting star

With condolences to his family and friends,
K. Ramesh
Chennai, India