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Helene Schweitzer: A Life of Her Own 

Syracuse University Press, 2015

My biography of the little-known wife of Dr. Albert Schweitzer encompassed archival research in five countries and three languages. Helene Schweitzer (1879-1957) was Berlin-born and raised in Strasbourg, France, where she met Albert Schweitzer at a friend's weddding. Not only did she work alongside her famous husband in Europe and Gabon (then French Equitorial Africa, she did so as a trained nurse, an excellent editor, and  the mother of his only child. 

Helene Schweitzer: A Life of Her Own

Available from the publisher at:

Prior to writing my bio of Helene Schweitzer, I worked with the late Dr. Walter Munz (Swiss) to  re-edit and translate his multi-author memoir of life in Lamabarene during Dr. Schweitzer's lifetime. This book was supported by eight, international organizations. and published in 2010.  NOW OUT OF PRINT.

Albert Schweitzer's Lambarene, translated by Patti Marxsen

Jacques Roumain: A Life of Resistance

Caribbean Studies Press, 2019

My journey into  the life and thought of an iconic Haitian writer and public  intellectual took me to the numerous sites of his brief  life that began and ended in Port-au-Prince (1907-1944). This book explores his writings and traces his impact on Haiti as a privileged youth and young activist opposed to the American Occupation (1915-1935) to exile in Paris and New York and  his final role as a Haitian diplomat in Mexico City at age 35.  My bio includes a section of my translations of  Roumain's "Key writings from the 1930s." 

Patti Marxsen's second biography Jacques Roumain: A Life of Resistance

2019 Haitian Studies Association Book Prize

Available from the publisher's catalog at: 

Jacques Roumain Translations

Transition Magazine Issue 128
Translation in Transition128 of Jacques Roumain essay.

In addition to translations fof Jacques Roumain's "Key Writings from the 1930s" included in  my biography, I've also published translations of his essays, poetry, and fiction in journals such as TRANSITION 128 and several issues of the Journal of Haitian Studies

Special Issue of JOHS includes Patti Marxsen's tranlslation of a poem by Jacques Roumain, "Call to Arms."
Forthcoming in 2024
The Complete Poems of Jacques Roumain
Translated by Patti M. Marxsen

from Educa Vision/Caribbean Studies Press

Translated Books by Charles Ferdinand Ramuz 

Riversong of the Rhone is dual-language edition of C.F. Ramuz's epic prose poem, "Chant de notre Rhone."

The work of C.F. Ramuz (1878-1947) became an obsession shortly after I moved to Switzerland in 2007. His poetic, mythical vision deepened my own vision of my adopted country and felt like an open invitation to the art of translation. Ramuz's epic prose poem "Chant de notre Rhone" became my first dual-language edition in 2015, patiently published in Australia by Onesich Press. Passage of the Poet, a 1923 novel set in a wine village overlooking Lake Leman, was a much-delayed "pandemic project" that I finally decided to self-publish. 

Patti Marxsen's translation of C.F. Ramuz's Passage du Poete

Travel Essays & Tales with a French Accent

Island Journeys is a collection of travel essays with French connections.
Marxsen's essays about life in Switzerland include her award-winning "Gateau de Payerne."

My two collections of travel essays have taught me a lot about looking and seeing beyond the surface. History, biography, and geography determine so much of how we feel about a place ... especially when we find ourselves displaced by a foreign culture, social system, or language that functions as  a mysterious code to be cracked.

Island Journeys: Exploring the Legacy of France (Alondra Press, 2008). These seven essays confirm that islands, like cities, are complex intersections of history and culture. Selected as one of seven finalists for the non-fiction book award of the Writers League of Texas in 2009.

Rousseau’s Refuge and Other Essays Out of Switzerland (2012) includes “Gâteau de Payerne,” winner the inaugural Literary Prize for Non-Fiction of the Geneva Writer’s Group, 2013 (judged by Dinty Moore).

My only published fiction is found in this collection of short stories Tales from the Heart of Haiti (Educa Vision/Caribbean Studies Press, 2010).  Although set in Haiti, these stories are told, with one exception, through the eyes of a white, American  outsider. The cover features my own illustration keyed to the lead story titled "The Dove and the Mango" and the collection was originally published with a Teacher's Guide. to inspire discussion and curiosity about Haiti.


Available on Amazon and from the publisher's catalog.

Marxsen illustrated the tropical cover of her collection of stories set in Haiti.

Editing  Multi-Author Books

Marxsen developed multi-author books for the college market in the early 2000s.

As Publications Mgr at the Boston Research Center in Cambridge, MA, I had the pleasure of working with Ginny Benson, dozens of scholars, and invaluable assistants--Leeta White and James McCrea--on books focused on global ethics and education. 

Editing is an essential skill in the writer's tool box, and what better way to develop it than by reading and refining the work of others? I feel fortunate to have had that opportunity many times over as the  developmental editor of multi-author books aimed at the college market in the early 2000s and, more recently, as Editor-in-Chief of the 2017 anthology of the Geneva Writers Group (Switzerland). That project was one of my best experiences in multi-author editing. Offshoots14  includes stories, non-fiction essays, and poetry from nearly 40 writers of diverse backgrounds, all writing in  English. It takes a village, of course, and we had one in the "Dream Team" of Jennifer Turlinski Bew Orr and Bashir Sakhawarz plus a great photographer and designer whose work you can see here. Also, as ever, my thanks to Susan Tiberghien for her confidence in all of us.

Patti Marxsen was editor-in-chief of Offshoots14--Writing from Geneva in 2017.

A beautiful cover always makes the  editor-in-chief look good! The cover of the 2017 anthology of the Geneva Writers Group was designed by Sue Niewiarowski with photos by Alistair Scott. 

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