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February 2015

Book Review: TurtleFace and Beyond by Arthur Bradford

By Kevin Marchand, Connections Intern

 

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TurtleFace and Beyond by Arthur Bradford

Farrar, Strauss & Giroux

February 2015

 

The world you’ll find in the pages of Arthur Bradford’s new short story collection, TurtleFace and Beyond, is certainly a bizarre one. And yet it is somehow perfectly believable. By the end you can’t help but feel saddened at the thought of leaving it.

Bradford should be considered one of the contemporary masters of the short story form. For thirteen stories you follow the life of Georgie, as he tries to make his way through a disconnected world of selfish friends and outright absurdity. Of course, it doesn’t help that Georgie is a complete doormat and is constantly allowing himself to be manipulated by those around him; dragged headfirst into the most ridiculous situations one could possibly imagine. Take, for example, the title story when he gets stuck watching over a strange 217 pound dog. All we can ask is how? And when we open up to the story “Lost Limbs” Georgie tells us, “It wasn’t until my second date with Lenore that I discovered one of her arms was missing.” Wow.

Moments like this are precisely why we love Georgie. We might slap our forehead as we watch him try to suck the venom out of a stranger’s leg in the car on his way to a wedding (obviously smearing blood all over his nice shirt… for which he has characteristically forgotten a tie), but still we love him. And this isn’t anywhere close to the craziest situation Georgie gets himself into. Throughout the collection we see Georgie high on LSD with his friend’s sick infant in his arms, or nursing a wounded turtle back to health, or prematurely ejaculating all over the face of a girl in Thailand during an unexpected and overwhelming threesome.

Again, the head slap.

If you like strange then this is definitely the book for you. Bradford’s writing style is poignant and engaging and right to the point. His dialogue is at times outrageous, but somehow perfect. There is no time to question what is going on because he drags you along at the same dizzying speed as Georgie’s life is dragging him. You’ll find yourself feeling all the emotions that Georgie should be feeling but seemingly can’t comprehend or else doesn’t care to explore. And when you put the book down and start watching TV or doing the laundry, you’ll surely just stop and think, “Oh, Georgie.”

Cool Things the Digital Repository DOCS@RWU Can Do

by Mary Wu, Digital Scholarship and Metadata Librarian

 

Did you know that the Library has had a digital repository called DOCS@RWU since 2006? DOCS@RWU is a library service that provides open access to an online collection of scholarly and creative works produced by faculty, students, and other members of the RWU community. It currently hosts 3,049 papers and other materials in multi-media format, including but not limited to online journals, faculty publications, student theses, and image galleries. Thanks to its rich and interesting content, DOCS@RWU has had 400,894 full-text downloads since its inauguration. As a matter of fact, there are many ways for DOCS@RWU to boost scholarly communication and to showcase your research and academic achievements. We will highlight one amazing thing about DOCS@RWU every month this year to demonstrate why DOCS@RWU should matter to you!

#2 DOCS@RWU: A Showcase for Faculty Work

Screen shot 2015-01-29 at 10.58.06 AMDOCS@RWU broadcasts faculty scholarship to a much broader audience than is available through typical publishing venues. It also gives faculty a forum to share research with colleagues and fellow researchers around the world. There are currently 430 papers authored by RWU faculty members from a variety of disciplines in DOCS@RWU. One of the advantages of having your papers in DOCS@RWU is the monthly statistics report on full-text downloads delivered to you automatically. Additionally, the Author Dashboard is a personalized reporting tool for DOCS@RWU authors available via each author’s My Account page. The Author Dashboard allows authors to view download counts in real time, learn which search terms were used to find their work, and discover which institutions accessed their work. These usage statistics are a handy way for you to track the impact of your scholarship, so please create your DOCS@RWU account if you have not done so in the My Account page.

 

Colleges and universities across the country are doing many amazing and exciting things with digital repositories in addition to publicizing research and scholarship. Below are a few examples of how other colleges and universities make class lectures, curricula, and research materials in multimedia more accessible through digital repositories:

 

Expedition: Yellowstone! Starrs Curriculum Materials at the University of Wyoming provides both background information and lesson plans on its digital repository to enhance the curriculum.

 

The collection of Organic Chemistry Lectures at Utah State University makes class lectures public by providing downloadable online videos through its digital repository.

 

The collection of Visual & Performing Arts Faculty Music Gallery at Fairfield University presents both live and recorded faculty musical performances.

 

U.S. National Tick Collection is an image gallery of various types of ticks collected by James H. Oliver Jr., Institute of Coastal Plain Science at Georgia Southern University.

 

If you would like to include your work in DOCS@RWU, or use the platform to publish, please contact Mary Wu (mwu@rwu.edu), the Digital Scholarship/Metadata Librarian.

Stay tuned for the next cool thing that DOCS@RWU can do for you! Also check out the January Connections for #1 DOCS@RWU: A Showcase for RWU Student Work.

While You Were Away in January…

By Linda Beith, Director of Instructional Design

The Instructional Design team was busy in the month of January upgrading four major instructional technologies including Bridges learning management system, Panopto video capture, Citrix GoToMeeting/GoToTraining web conferencing and PollEverywhere virtual clickers. The ID team also conducted another session over winter break of the Teaching Online short course for faculty interested in transitioning from teaching on campus to teaching online.

 

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What’s New in Bridges

Some faculty will notice a new look to their Bridges courses. The School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation, the School of Continuing Studies and the Law School Bridges courses each have a new and unique look. The plan is to eventually add more choices for faculty to change the look and feel of their courses.

Notable tools added to Bridges include a Drop Box to collect electronic student work and Page Order tool to allow faculty to re-order their course menu items and hide tools from student view.

I.D.E.A. SPACE

The Instructional Technology Development Center has been replaced with a new area on the first floor of the Learning Commons. This room is called the Instructional Design Education and Application (I.D.E.A.) space and the intent is to provide a space for faculty to develop materials and learn new technologies in consultation with the Instructional Design team. For more information contact the Instructional Design team at id@rwu.edu or phone 401-254-3187.

From The Nightstand: Danny DiCamillo

Danny DiCamillo, Assistant Director of Residence Life, has been at RWU for 8 years, and for the past 3 as Assistant Director.

Interview conducted by Ryan Monahan

 

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Current Read

The Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher, a fantasy series about a modern-day wizard, are high on Danny’s list of favorite books. The wizard, Harry Dresden, acts as a private investigator for regular people who have magical things happen to them. Danny, passionate about fantasy and science fiction, attributes his active imagination as a child to his love for this genre. As a child, his father read him The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling to fall asleep at night, which greatly influence his reading taste now as an adult.

As Assistant Director of Residence Life, Danny also chooses to read a number of books that can aid him in interacting with students, parents, and his coworkers. Currently, he is reading Getting to Yes by William Ury and Roger Fisher, which Danny describes as a guide on how to have productive conversations with people in difficult situations, and how to reach mutually beneficial outcomes for both parties. Once finished with Getting to Yes, he plans to read the sequel, Getting Past No by William Ury.

 

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Memorable Reads

What stands out in Danny’s mind is Still Alice by Lisa Genova, a powerful read about a professor from Harvard with Alzheimer’s and her struggle with losing aspects of herself. Danny found himself sucked into the novel, in part due to Genova’s description of Boston, an area Danny knows well. “When you can read an amazing book and put yourself in the reader’s shoes, [it’s] difficult… I found myself thinking of my own mortality.”

Prefacing his next choice by saying, “this is not a plug for the University,” Danny describes The Circle by Dave Eggers, RWU’s freshman common read selection, as a book that predicts the possible outcome of “eliminating all secrets.” The novel depicts the protagonist, Mae, as she gets a job at a fictional corporation based on Google and quickly loses her personal identity to the vast company. In response, the novel made Danny very conscientious of how much technology has become a crutch, pointing out the “Jawbone” bracelet he wears that records activities such as sleep patterns and fitness routines.

 

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Upcoming Reads

Danny has a tremendous list of upcoming books to read; he’s stopped buying books, as the bookshelves in his house are filled with both fantasy novels and books to read for his career. Besides working on the stacks of un-read books, he intends to re-read the Harry Potter series. Danny loves to receive suggestions for new books, and if you have a book in mind Danny may enjoy, he wants to hear from you. E-mail him at ddicamillo@rwu.edu to suggest great reads.

 

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Essential Read

            When asked what book everybody should read, Danny took much consideration. He finally chose Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, but with a disclaimer that this was “his” book. This book is the most important for him, but he knows that “it won’t change everybody’s life.” His wish is that everybody will find a book that will change their lives, just as Harry Potter did for him.

 


 

What is media∙tech?

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The media∙tech service desk in the Learning Commons offers one-stop technology support for students, staff and faculty.   Open 120 hours a week during the academic year, media∙tech is staffed with a combination of full-time and part-time IT staff, along with student assistants, led by Technology Services Leader Michael Micale.

 

 

Visit the media∙tech desk to ask a technical question, report a problem, or drop off your laptop for out-of-warranty repair. Need to borrow a laptop or Samsung tablet? Both are available at media∙tech for loan using your library barcode. Want to incorporate video, images or sound into your work? media∙tech has video cameras, still cameras and audio recorders. Laptop chargers, Apple adapters and other accessories are also available.

media∙tech services are also available by phone (401-254-6363), email (mediatech@rwu.edu) or on the web (http://mediatech.rwu.edu).

A Few Words with Maria Flook

By Abby DeVeuve, Connections Intern

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Maria Flook is the author of four novels (Mothers and Lovers; Lux; Open Water; Family Night), two nonfiction books (Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod; My Sister Life: The Story of My Sister’s Disappearance), one collection of short stories (You Have the Wrong Man), and two collections of poetry (Sea Room; Reckless Wedding). She is a 2007 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Award recipient and is currently Distinguished Writer-In-Residence at Emerson College. Her writing has made the New York Times Best Seller list, received a PEN American/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Special Citation, and won the Houghton Mifflin New Poetry Series.

So where did such an accomplished writer go to school? Right here at Roger Williams, of course! Maria completed her undergraduate work as a Creative Writing major in the poetry track at Roger Williams College (the name changed from “College” to “University” in 1992). She then went on to receive her M.F.A. at the prestigious University of Iowa, Writers Workshop before returning to New England to settle in Cape Cod.

I was lucky enough to get in touch with Maria in advance of her February 24, 2015 visit to kick off the spring Talking in the Library series at the Mary White Tefft Cultural Center. In our email correspondence, Maria recounted the good times as a student at Roger Williams College (RWC) in the Seventies, discussed her journey to becoming an established writer, and shared her own inspiration that drives her to write.

 

Beginning the Journey

In 1970, when I was eighteen, I never graduated high school, and I didn’t have a high school diploma. I was admitted into the Creative Writing Program at RWC as a “special student.” The letter “S” appeared after every grade I received on my first report cards, until I had earned enough straight A’s to be taken off the “special student” list. I had been admitted to the college after showing a manuscript to the creative writing instructor Robert McRoberts. He saw that I was doing something interesting with my poetry, and he endorsed my application.

 

 

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Inspirational Professors and Famous Writers

 

My years at the college were very exciting. The creative writing program invited many very famous American writers to visit the college, sometimes for days at a time. They gave readings, visited classes, and introduced RWC writing students to a world of literary options. William Styron. Thomas Wolfe. Kenneth Koch. William Stafford. James Tate. Robert Bly. Richard Yates, and many other contemporary poets and fiction writers visited campus. Meeting established writers gave us the belief that we, too, could someday be successful as writers. But we not only had very renowned visiting writers; our teachers were the bedrock of the program. Robert McRoberts and Geoffrey Clark encouraged us, both in workshop settings and in literature classes, where we were introduced to important writers who would influence our own voices. Our writing workshops were lively, challenging, and sometimes wacky.

 

My undergraduate experience at Roger Williams helped me believe that writing could be a lifelong commitment. This encouragement came from my teachers, my peers, and from a college that seemed to be very supportive to our creative writing program. In the late seventies, due to financial considerations, the college tried to remove support for the program and many of its alums came back to fight to keep it going. I’m glad to see that the program is again thriving.

 

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Fond Memories of a Young Poet

 

Back then, creative writing students developed special bonds with one another, and we had a very intense social life. We especially enjoyed “after parties” at our professors’ houses. McRoberts lived in the lighthouse right beneath Mt. Hope Bridge. There is nothing more romantic than to have a post-reading party at a lighthouse! And, one time Geoffrey Clark had a party and everyone took turns trying out his new “water bed.” I remember the poet Robert Bly flopping around on the water bed, and giving it his thumbs up. Many unexpected things happened. Poet Tom Lux came to give a reading, and when he stood up at the podium he was so stone drunk he fell backwards in a swoon. But students ran up and helped him get back on his feet. He gave a terrific reading, despite his embarrassing start.

 

Other exciting things happened: Creative writing student Lou Papineau (his RWC poetry thesis is called “Matinees”), was able to get Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band to come to the college to perform. They arrived very late at night in a beat-up van, after security had closed the event, but the band set up and performed for all of us who had waited for them show up. And while I was a student, we started a literary magazine called Aldebaran, and we were able to attract wonderful contributors. It was important to us to support young writers of our own, and to see their work published side by side with well-known writers.

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On Writing Poetry

 

I’ve been A.W.O.L. from poetry for quite a while. But poetry was the genre that launched me as a writer. Of course, the lyric voice and a constant dependence on “poetic figure” is a given in literary fiction. “Image” is the shortest route to a walloping instance of perception. As a novelist I mine from my background in poetry. Poetry is a vein of ore and the lyric voice is a constant. But I’m interested in story-telling, and in character development. That requires the pages that fiction and nonfiction provide me. Poetry can tell a whole story in one line. Think of Emily Dickinson. But I like to follow my characters into their predicaments, room by room, disaster by disaster, and their transformations are looked at with the clarity of observation that sometimes requires full scenes and more pages than what poetry needs. As a student at Roger Williams, I was on the poetry “track” and I never took fiction workshops. I was interested in fiction and story writing, and I wrote a first novel right after college (never published), but I went from Roger Williams to the Iowa Writer Workshop as a poetry student. My professor at Roger Williams, poet Robert McRoberts, was very supportive of my progression as a young poet.

 

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Writing Fiction: Inspiration, Characters, and the Sea

 

My story ideas come from a connection or a gut attraction to character. So you might say my work begins with “connection.” It’s an obsessive preoccupation with a character who faces a problem I identify with. I’m interested in family tensions, in love troubles, in lovers who make the wrong decisions, or make the wrong moves, in tensions between diverse groups of characters from different social spheres and different economic situations. I’m interested in “fringe” characters and how they interact with the status quo. And yes, I have set a few of my novels in Rhode Island. Open Water takes place in Newport, and I look at the underbelly of that town, with all its interesting ne’er do well characters. Working class characters, fishermen’s widows, and petty thieves are followed in their day-to-day predicaments, side by side with wealthy Newport society. My newest novel takes place in Middletown, and Mothers and Lovers takes place in a town called East Westerly which is, of course, a comedic invention. And yes, the sea is important in my work because the sea is important to me. My second collection of poems is called Sea Room which of course is a navigational term, but it has a metaphor resonance.

 

 

On Her Least Favorite Question: Who are Your Favorite Writers?

 

I always hate this question. Like, please don’t ask me my favorite foods, either! There are too many to list here.   But I have a few writers who have been my influences and my pleasures. Edna O’Brien, Thomas Hardy, Denis Johnson, Jean Thompson, John Cheever, even Joyce Carol Oates. A new favorite of mine is Italian novelist Elena Ferrante whose Neapolitan series of novels have blown me away. In poetry it’s Keats, Dickinson, Neruda, Cavafy, Oscar Wilde, and Hart Crane. This list just scratches the surface.

 

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Advice to Aspiring Writers

 

The “journey” of a writer, or of any artist, is to make the commitment to work. A lot of young writers are interested in living the “Lifestyle of a writer” but are not willing to engage in hours and hours of time at your desk. It really must be clear to anyone interested in making art that it is a solitary commitment of time. You must choose to work over all other things. Certain entertainments and pleasures have to be put aside. People have to come in second. Your loved ones and family have to learn to live without certain things that others take for granted. You must put your writing above all else, and to get the work on the page means a life of constant sacrifice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building with Light: the Legacy of Robert Elwall

By John Schlinke, Architecture/Art Librarian

 

How did the noted architectural photographer Ezra Stoller capture on film the design ideas contained in a line of modern, prefabricated homes? How did the manufacturer of the homes choose to represent those same ideas in its print advertising? How does the “space” of modern architecture translate into the “white space” of modern graphic design? These were some of the central questions addressed in a paper presented by Associate Professor John Schlinke, Architecture/Art Librarian, at an international symposium on architectural photography titled “Building With Light: The Legacy of Robert Elwall.”

 

The symposium, convened by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at its London headquarters this past November, honored the memory of photographic curator and historian Robert Frederick Elwall. Elwall joined the RIBA Library in 1976 and over a period of three decades built the Photographs Collection into a repository of 1.5 million images, an unparalleled resource of architectural photography. In recognition of his life’s work, when Elwall died in 2012, the RIBA Library named the collection in his honor.

 

1933000008© Ezra Stoller / Esto

For more images visit: http://www.estostock.com/SwishSearch?Keywords=alside

Start browsing and reading your scholarly journals with BrowZine!

by Hannah Goodall and Jackie Katz, Members, RWU Library Marketing and Outreach CommitteeBrowZineLogo-FINAL COLORThe Roger Williams University Library is sponsoring BrowZine, a new application that allows you to browse, read, and monitor many of the library’s scholarly journals from your Android and iOS mobile devices. Built to accompany your searching needs, items found in BrowZine can easily be synced up with Zotero, Mendeley, RefWorks, Dropbox, or other services to help keep all of your information together in one place.

 

With BrowZine, you can:
– Browse and read journals: Browse journals by subject, easily review tables of contents, and download full articles
– Create your own bookshelf: Add journals to your personal bookshelf and be notified when new articles are published
– Save and export articles: Save articles for off-line reading or export to services such as DropBox, Mendeley, RefWorks, Zotero, Papers and more

 

Getting started is easy! From your Android or iOS device, find BrowZine in the Apple App, Google Play or Amazon App store and download it for free. When initially launching BrowZine, select Roger Williams University Library from the drop down list. Enter your library campus credentials. Start exploring BrowZine! Make your mobile device your library! http://thirdiron.com/download/

 

For more information visit the RWU Library Libguide where you can find online tutorials for accessing BrowZine, http://rwu.libguides.com/c.php?g=130703

Watch the Library’s tutorials here:

BrowZine: Getting Started

 

 

BrowZine: Search, Save, and Set Up Your Bookshelf

 

 

Or stop by the RWU Library and speak with a librarian.

LIBRARY LIAISONS ARE HERE FOR YOU!

by Betsy Peck Learned, Associate Dean

 

Library liaisons are the personal connection between you and the library. As part of a staffing reorganization in 2012, the library adopted an engagement-centered model for library services in an effort to build and sustain critical relationships between the library and the campus community.  This model embraces the concept that library professionals have a leadership role in furthering library and university priorities. The liaison librarians are assigned to specific disciplines and/or majors in which they share an academic background or research interest with the teaching faculty and students in these areas.

 

The liaison model was adapted from the University of Minnesota Library’s “Position Description Framework” and includes five areas of responsibility for each librarian. These include:

 

Campus Engagement:

Serve as the library’s primary liaison to faculty and students in assigned subject areas; take initiative to facilitate communication about their resource needs and service expectations.

 

Teaching and Learning:

Provide pedagogically appropriate instruction for library users through a variety of instructional methods.

 

Research Services:

Provide in-depth, specialized research consultations and reference services for the Roger Williams University community.

 

Collection Management:

Contribute to the management of and access to library collections to support teaching and research.

 

Digital Tools:

Promote use of subject-specific information resources and services to meet user needs and expectations, utilizing current technologies and information tools.

 

To find the library liaison to your subject area, consult the list on the library website at:

http://library.rwu.edu/lib/library-info/people/liaisons

 

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