Paul Merchant, William Stafford Archivist and Special Collections Associate, will retire this month after 14 years of service to the Lewis & Clark community. Paul has served the College as a teacher, writer, and archivist, as well as a mentor and friend to many.
Paul was born in Wales and studied at Cambridge, the Shakespeare Institute, and the University of Athens. Paul taught for many years at the University of Warwick and the University of Tennessee, before moving to Portland with his wife Grace and his son Luke. In Portland Paul worked with IRCO (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization), Breitenbush Press, Mountain Writers, and in the mid 1990s he became the archivist for the Estate of William Stafford. When the Stafford Archives were donated to Lewis & Clark in 2008, Paul continued to work as the Stafford Archivist at the Watzek Library Special Collections, and as an instructor for the Lewis & Clark English Department and the Northwest Writing Institute. As a member of the Special Collections staff, Paul has had a vital role as an author, editor, bibliographer, and exhibit curator. These projects have included work on William Stafford, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, western exploration, modern literature, Oregon poetry, pacifism, utopian studies, Charles Dickens, and early publications of classical literature. In 2010 Paul gifted his own Charles Dickens collection to the College, and in 2011 he gifted his extensive collection of rare British literature and classics.
As a creative writer and literary scholar, Paul is the editor and translator of Modern Poetry In Translation 4 (1968), which included the first selection of Greek poet Yannis Ritsos published in England. He is also the translator of Eleni Vakalo’s Genealogy (1971), Ritsos’ Monochords (2007), and Constantine P. Cavafy’s Twelve Poems (2010). His collection of poems Bone from a Stag’s Heart was a 1988 British Poetry Book Society Recommendation. His fourth collection of poems, Some Business of Affinity (2006), was a finalist for an Oregon Book Award. Paul also co-edited with Vince Wixon The Answers Are Inside the Mountains, Meditations on the Writing Life, and Crossing Unmarked Snow: Further Views on the Writer’s Vocation for the University of Michigan Press.
Paul’s last day with us will be August 31. Please join with us in thanking him for his outstanding service and wishing him and his family all the very best.