Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Paul Marsh, Carrier of Stories Across the World, Passes Away In Milan

In elegies/ obituaries, The Good Souls on July 8, 2009 at 11:19 PM


A letter to the dear souls who knew and loved Paul Marsh, even though I do not know all of you by name… I think of you very much now. cpe

Paul Marsh… dear father to his precious children, dear husband of the beautiful and feisty Susie Marsh, sweet friend to so many…. Paul was the foreign agent for my work through my U.S. agent, Ned Leavitt, who also treasured him.

Paul, and his wife Susie, and Marsh Agency colleagues, were also the carriers en masse of thousands of authors’ stories across the world… finding homes in publishing houses as far-flung as Iceland, Estonia, Korea, Turkey, Brazil, Germany, Japan and most any nation in the entire world with a printing press.

Just this, in between my bursts of tears hearing this devastating news of Paul’s sudden passing… Paul was the last of the gallant men of the world, a man who was quietly wise… incredibly so in a time when edginess has been vaunted as absurdly more valuable than depth.

To us United Statesians, Paul, having diplomas from Cambridge and University of Göttingen, also had a personal reserve, that seeming reticence that Brits are sometimes known for ‘across the pond’ here.

But I found over the years (he has been ours for over 15 years now) that under his quiet demeanor, I could say silly things to him, and he would giggle like a child.

Thus, at book expos,

after our lunch and on the way to meet the ‘editors’ of the many publishing companies Paul conferred with… I’d say to him: “The Philistines are at the gate,” and he would burst into laughter. Then I’d say in a Mel Brooks kind of voice, “Wait! Are the Philistines us? Or are the Philistines the publishers?”

And Paul would whisper back with fervor, “We must find out!… Let us go forth! Storm the castles to the best of our abilities!”

…Other times we’d just talk over ‘litter-ay-chur,’ and I’d tease him about how the Brits said the word ‘laboratory’ and ‘schedule,’ and we’d joke about ‘dat British guy, Willem somebody-or-t’other who writ dem plays that did pretty gud ‘bout screaming queens and daggers hanging in mid-air and all.’ And we’d laugh and laugh.

How can you not love a man who seemed made of tweed, and  yet had so many doors with ornate hinges leading to all sorts of ideas in his mind. How could you not love a soul who you saw be gracious with people from all over the world…

with the smiling, always respectful but sometimes anxious Asian publishers; with the hurry up so we can be done and relax with each other French; the ‘you are my sister/ you are my brother, let’s have warm deep crusted bread and wine’ Italianos; the Brazilians and all their warmth; the Germans and all their humor; the Dutch and all their kindly seriousness, the Eastern Europeans, especially after them bravely heading straight into publishing with such vigor after having been squelched for decades by Government-only-approved publishing…

and on and on I saw Paul meet the world, the same way each time, with each soul… being so Paul-ish, so completely, deeply, honorably, Paul Marsh…

He was a one-of-a-kind man during a time now when we writers so appreciate sincere and intrepid publishers, editors and translators.… in part, because all we authors who’ve been around a while, have been in the clutches of at least one ‘debbil editor’ …the one with the glittering dollar-sign painted on one eyeball, and a chain saw instead of a light blue pencil in hand, looking to impress some brace of bat-people hanging upside down in a cave somewhere… rather than poised to fly free and feed the world with nourishing words.

Paul knew the difference between the kinds of editors/ translators/ publishers, and had the uncanny ability to see who was who… and he would match-make warm and enduring editor-publisher-writer relationships. Uncannily so. Many of we writers have cherished personal relationships with our publishers throughout the world because of his careful melding.

Paul had been carrying one of my manuscripts to my Italian publisher in Milan this trip—a book about the palpable return of the ancient Blessed Mother in modern times. I’d just received a sweet email from him a couple days ago, and his encouragement and enthusiasm for the work was bright.

Because he was just so near, so personable with me, so loving, I can barely believe that Paul, our spirit-brother, is gone from us too early, so soon. I really cant. I’ve been weeping and staring since I heard. The entire gravity of my world and the world of so many others has shifted dramatically with his passing. It isn’t that I don’t know other souls of great decency like Paul, it’s just that … his dear presence on earth is completely irreplaceable.

For those who do not yet know, Paul was taken by a pulmonary embolism at the end of a train ride into Milan. His beloved Susie was with him. Knowing her as I do and her fabulous take-charge DNA, I know Paul was blessed to have her there.

I am sorry, I know this is far too long, not spelled right, and disjointed for I have to stop to dry my eyes, but I would like to especially extend condolences to all who love Paul, foremost to his dear wife Susie and his beautiful children, and to all who know and care about his little-big family.

Be strong, and hang in there…

You can see the two part interview of Paul here from the London Book Fair, February 2009 … and here

Please know as we mourn Paul, there are many like myself from all the way across the ocean who are holding you in our love and lifting you in our prayers.

Et Requiescat in pace, Paul Marsh. Siempre.

Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh, Paul.

Repose en paix.

With kindest regards,

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, USA

Author, Women Who Run With the Wolves


  1. It wrenched my heart to read this. I knew Paul only slightly. He represented some of my work in Europe and for years my former agent Mic Cheetham had an office within the Marsh Agency premises. I think they were close. Susie even tolerated Mic’s enormous dog. In the staircase going up to their old Dover Street offices I can remember photos of the many literary luminaries Paul represented.

    Now your words make me wish I had been lucky enough to really know him.

  2. Dear Dr. Estés,

    Some things I truly miss, and one of those things is time not spent with this sincere thoughtful man. I know from a most revered source that this too is my personal loss.

    With the sorrow for the loss of one who made this planet a little better while they were here, and will never be forgotten by those who knew and cared for him.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Marvell A. Lawson

  3. Dear Dr.Estés
    Thank for your comment on Editoratrix. Just a quiet and small compliment to Paul Marsh wonderful career. It is much more rewarding to see his portrait here, in proportions fittest to his aura.

    Vivian Wyler, Editora Rocco

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