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April 2016

From the Nightstand: Professor Edward J. Delaney

Interview conducted by Brittany Parziale, Connections Intern

Edward J. Delaney photo

Edward J. Delaney, Professor of Creative Writing and Editor of Mount Hope magazine, has taught at RWU since 1990.



Current Reads


Currently reading Literary Publishing in the 21st century edited by Wayne Miller, Kevin Prufer, and Travis Kurowski. This collection of narratives describes the transformation in the world of publishing brought about by technological developments, market pressures, and changing reading habits through a wide range of perspectives.




“I am reading it to help with the literary publishing course I teach. But I also find it very interesting and insightful on a personal level.” As the editor of Mount Hope, the student run magazine operating out of Roger Williams University, Delaney finds himself gravitating to works about publishing and about the history of the modern publishing era. Also, to keep up-to-date, he regularly reads multiple magazines, including: The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Paris Review, and scores of smaller literary journals.


Memorable Reads


James Joyce’s Ulysses. Multiple works by Don DeLillo. Joan Didion’s Slouching Toward Bethlehem. William Kennedy’s Ironweed. “You read a good book and find that your priorities in life at the moment change a little . . . Those are the types of books that stick with me.” Several books from childhood also remain memorable such as The Catcher in the Rye, and William Saroyan’s The Human Comedy. Delaney remembers reading Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun, an anti-war novel, in his freshmen year of high school, and finding it “a very powerful read, telling the shocking story of the effects of war.”


“I have an interest in reading literary fiction and nonfiction of all kinds, ranging from historical context to biographies.” He enjoys short stories just as much as books, finding them “best when you want to get the entire reading experience in one sitting.” For Edward Delaney, it’s easy to be able to set aside time for pleasure reading. “I wanted to be a writer because I love to read; and a lot of the reason I read is because I write. Reading is an important part of my day. Every day.”


Upcoming Reads


Viet Thang Nguyen’s The Sympathizer. It tells the story of a Vietnamese, French communist spy living a double life in Los Angeles. “Primarily, I am interested in reading this because it recently won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It’s important for me to know what is being considered as among the best work out there right now.”


Essential Reads


“I don’t think there is an essential read, because no one needs to read any one book. So many different books speak to different human experiences. I don’t think any one good book can speak to everyone the same.”




















Celebrating Reading Through Campus and Community Partnerships

Although the Roger Williams University campus and heart of downtown Bristol can seem like separate worlds at times, in fact it is only a six-minute drive between them. Through its open talks, lectures, and forums, the University Library has taken pride in sharing the campus learning environment with our Bristol neighbors. In order to further our relationship with the intellectually curious residents of Bristol, the University Library recently has been creating a series of partnerships with Rogers Free Library. This past year, jointly the University Library and Rogers Free were able to host Talking in the Library(s) event in the fall and the spring. The fall program welcomed novelist and short story writer, Jim Shepard, and the spring saw a packed house for novelist Claire Messud. In support of both of the events, RWU students and Rogers Free patrons alike engaged in the works of both authors, coming together in advance of each writer’s appearance to discuss the books. Additionally, Professor Ted Delaney hosted regular film screenings and discussions on Tuesday nights. “The expanding collaboration between Roger Williams University and Rogers Free Library is a great benefit for the local community,” says Rogers Free Circulations Supervisor, Cheryl Stein. “Increasing interaction and exchanging of ideas among students, faculty and members of the community has brought an ever widening world to all involved.”


So what else is on tap with the partnerships taking place at Rogers Free?


From May 11 – June 22, Rogers Free will host a memoir writing workshop that was developed by Rogers Free staff in conjunction with RWU interim Dean of Libraries, Betsy Learned, and University Library writer-in-residence, Adam Braver. It will be led by Susan Tacent. (http://rogersfreelibrary.org/memoir-writing-workshop/)


On October 5, 2016, novelist Dawn Tripp will be reading and discussing her latest novel, Georgia, a fictional account of the life of painter Georgia O’Keefe. (7 PM at Rogers Free. A partnership between RWU’s Talking in the Library / Mary Tefft White series, and Rogers Free’s Jane Bodell fund through their Friends of the Library). The appearance will be preceded by a book group discussion, with the date TBD.


April 3, 2017, as the 2017 Bermont Fund Distinguished Guest Writer, novelist, short story writer, memoirist, and critic Rick Moody will be speaking. (7 PM. A partnership between RWU’s Talking in the Library / Mary Tefft White series and Bermont Fellowship, and Rogers Free’s Jane Bodell fund through their Friends of the Library). The appearance will be preceded by a book group discussion, with the date TBD.


Also on the horizon will be programming in collaboration with RWU’s John Howard Birss program that celebrates the anniversary of a great book. The coming academic year will honor the 50th anniversary of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. Stay tuned for details on upcoming programs . . .


Advocacy Seminar Students Take the Hill

By Maggie Daubenspeck, Connections Intern


In mid-March of 2016, five members from the Advocacy Seminar class and their professor, Adam Braver, visited Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of the seventy-two-year-old Mohammad Hossein Rafiee Fanood, an imprisoned scholar and chemist in Iran. The Seminar works in collaboration with Scholars at Risk to serve as case minders on behalf of international scholars who are imprisoned for issues directly correlated to violations of their freedom of expression. Maggie Daubenspeck, Abby DeVeuve, Diandra Franks, Jen Gonzalez, Grace Napoli, and Adam Braver scheduled a total of thirteen meetings to be completed in a single day.


Tuesday Evening – March 15, 2016

The team arrived at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport at 10:00 pm, successfully navigated the Metro, and made their way to their Dupont Circle hotel. Being surrounded by the sights and sounds of the city made their mission real: they were in the nation’s capitol as participants of the democratic system—there to talk to members of congress and other officials about an issue of great importance.

But could they have an impact?


Wednesday Morning – March 16, 2016

The day’s first hitch was the late breaking announcement that all Metro transportation would be suspended due to maintenance. This news forced the group to have to rejigger their transportation and logistical planning. Somehow that seemed part and parcel of a day of advocacy in D.C., always being ready to rethink, readjust, and refine expectations.

But by 9:15am, the entire team was sitting down in the office of Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) in the Rayburn Office Building. The idea of meeting with congressional members on the Hill initially may have been intimidating, but once in action, the group was ready, relaxed, and motivated. After all, a man’s future was at stake.

The team then split up into two separate groups to tackle a series of morning meetings, toggling between House and Senate offices at the Hart and Cannon buildings. While scrambling to different meetings in different buildings was initially confusing, the students soon became experts at navigating the legislative passages, making sure to include small breaks for team meetings to discuss all they were hearing, and continually strategizing for upcoming conferences. Before lunch, Team One met with Representative Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), the staff of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Senator Bob Menendez (R-NJ). Team Two focused on an extended meeting with a law clerk from the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

Throughout the morning meetings, the students were met with mixed reactions, particularly on strategies specific to addressing human rights issues in Iran. What became more and more clear: most members were willing to lend some form of support, but they preferred someone else to take the lead.


Wednesday Afternoon – March 16, 2016

The entire team attended a meeting at the State Department with Democracy, Rights, and Labor (DRL). This meeting proved to be very informative as the group sat down with the Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby, Foreign Affairs and Near Eastern Affairs Officer Matthew Hickey, and Iranian Affairs Officer Emily Norris. In addition to helping the team further understand the relationship between the nuances and complexities of human rights in Iran and the case against Dr. Rafiee, the meeting also introduced new speaking points to present in the day’s remaining meetings on the Hill.

By far, the most promising meeting of the day came at the end of the schedule. Following a spirited and up-tempo meeting with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and his staff, the team left Senator Whitehouse’s office with a strong indication from the Senator that he would draft a letter in support of Dr. Rafiee’s release. Finally, the students had found a representative willing to take the lead.

Other meetings to round out the day included the staffs of Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Representative Lee Zeldin (R-NY), and Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ).


Wednesday Evening – March 16, 2016

With all the meetings finished, the exhausted but happy team met over dinner to discuss and compare the details from the various meetings, as well as the overall experience. A plan was set up to send out follow up emails, and to write a final report for Scholars at Risk about the findings, allowing the parent organization to engage further with some of the representatives, as needed.

By 10:15pm, the team was in the air, and en route back to Rhode Island. A full day of meeting directly with government officials about Dr. Rafiee’s situation made the students feel hopeful that the case would receive the much needed attention that might help contribute to a positive outcome—further highlighting the responsibility of those who live in cultures that are granted freedom of expression to speak up for those who don’t have that right.

Preservation News from the Archives

By Heidi Benedict, University Archives


As this week is Preservation Week, the Archives would like to share some of the projects from the past academic year:

Quill 1961-12-15-1

The Hawks’ Herald: For more than 5 years work-study students have been digitizing student newspapers, from as far back as 1961 when it was called The Quill. At this point almost all the student newspapers through 2011 have been completed. You can access them on the library website at http://docs.rwu.edu/student_pubs/.


CyberViewX v5.14.25 Model Code=58 F/W Version=1.13

Slide Collection: About 7 years ago , the Archives inherited an extensive slide collection, including shots of campus buildings, aerials, and Commencement. These slides have now been digitized.



Campus Renderings: In 2003 the University architectural illustrator Gary Barron created hand-drawn pencil renderings of campus buildings. Megan Lessard, Archives and Digital Services Specialist, created digital copies of these drawings for the Archives. The original drawings hang in Facilities.


Yearbooks: Work-study student Victoria Ramos has been using the copy stand to photograph yearbooks for preservation purposes only. She has completed digitizing yearbooks from 1970-1980. Those wishing to view yearbooks must still visit the Archives to do so.

Contact Heidi Benedict if you’d like access to the slide collection or campus renderings.

Did You Know…???

Did You Know . . .

The RWU Library has a DVD collection which includes popular titles. Check out our collection online, or ask the Library Information Desk for a printed list of selected entertainment films. DVD’s can be checked out for three days.

This year’s Oscar picks have come in and the DVD collection now features titles such as; The Danish Girl, The Martian, Inside Out, and Spotlight.

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(Images retrieved from redbox.com)

Meet the Learning Commons: Architecture Library

by John Schlinke, Architecture Librarian 

architecture tulips

You can find the Architecture Library in the School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation (SAAHP) at the south end of the main corridor. It is a branch of the University Libraries and its collections are focused on the built environment – architecture, urbanism, and historic preservation. The two-story library space contains about 24,000 books as well as holdings for about 360 journals. Despite being a smaller library with a special focus, the Architecture Library is open to everyone at RWU. There are a variety of seating options–soft seating, carrels, small tables, and larger tables for group study. There are nine thin-client computers available, two flat-bed scanners, a KIC bookeye scanner (very popular), and a combination photocopier/printer (black & white only). Especially at the end of the semester, when study space is at a premium, students may want to come to the Architecture Library for a quiet place to focus.




The members of the Architecture Library staff are:


John Schlinke, Architecture/Art Librarian – jschlinke@rwu.edu, 401-254-3833

LearningCommonsPortraits2014_DeAlmeidaClaudia_0004Claudia DeAlmeida, Circulation Coordinator – cdealmeida@rwu.edu, 401-254-3679


Madeline Dalessio, Evening Circulation Monitor – mdalessio@rwu.edu, 401-254-3679


Along with a complement of friendly and dedicated student employees, all the staff members are more than happy to help you. Please stop by and see us when you get a chance.


Birss Memorial Library Exhibition Celebrated the 50th Anniversary of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

By Christine S. Fagan, Collection Management Librarian

The sixteenth annual Professor John Howard Birss, Jr. Memorial Library Exhibition celebrated the 50th anniversary of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.  This exhibition was on display from February 1 through March 31, 2016.



Featured items included:

  • First edition of In Cold Blood published by Random House (1966)
  • Serialized version of “In Cold Blood” in four issues of The New Yorker (September 25, October 2, 9, 16, 1965)
  • Facsimile book reviews from The New York Times and The Observer (London)
  • Facsimile local news coverage in The Hutchinson News at the time of the murders, trial and execution
  • Facsimile Kansas Bureau of Investigation report of the critical interview with Floyd Wells, which was the first clue leading to the capture of the murder suspects
  • Issue of Life (May 12, 1967) with a feature article on the making of the film, In Cold Blood, in the town where the murders took place
  • Facsimile portraits of Capote by Carl Van Vechten, Roger Higgins of New York World-Telegram and Sun, and others
  • Facsimile photographs of the Black and White Ball held by Truman Capote at the Plaza Hotel on November 28, 1966



Other related events included a book discussion on March 2 lead by Professor James Tackach and jointly sponsored by the Honors Program and the RWU Library. A screening of the film, In Cold Blood, in conjunction with the FCAS Great Film Series took place on March 30. Professor Tackach offered a one-credit course on Truman Capote and In Cold Blood during the spring semester.



Dr. Thomas Fahy of Long Island University delivered the Keynote Lecture, “What’s So Dangerous About In Cold Blood? Truman Capote, American Culture, and the Literary Canon,” on March 17. Dr. Fahy, a noted Capote scholar and author of Understanding Truman Capote, provided an engaging presentation focused on the cultural climate of America in the 1950s, the setting of the novel. Economic inequality and fear of global atomic destruction are themes of the 1950s that still resonate today as the economic divide continues to expand and the fear of global terrorism is on the rise. Dr. Fahy concluded that alienation and violence tend to thrive under such circumstances, which sadly makes this novel so relevant and frightening today. A lively question and answer session followed.


Stay tuned as plans are underway for the 17th Annual Birss Memorial Program celebrating the 50th anniversary of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.



From the Archives: More from The Fulton/Howe Collection: Postcards

by Heidi Benedict, University Archivist


The Fulton/Howe Papers include thousands of letters and postcards, some written as far back as the 1880s. Work-study students, Julia Bradley and Victoria Ramos, are helping the University Archivist, Heidi Benedict, process the correspondence. At this point they’re about half way through the collection.

Some postcards show Bristol at the turn of the twentieth century, including one showing Mark Antony DeWolf’s Mudge House, built in 1840 by Russell Warren and destroyed by fire in 1919. Also included are a ca. 1904 postcard of the Herreshoff Boat Shops and later ones of Hope Street, the Mt. Hope Bridge, and Bristol Town Beach.


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For more from this collection view the article below:

From the Archives: The Fulton/Howe Collection: March 1916

Tech News – MediaTech Orientation

Honoring the 4th Annual Bermont Fellowship – Claire Messud

The annual Bermont Fellowship in Fiction and Nonfiction took place over April 10 – 11, 2016. Each Fellow, from several corners of the university, applied and were chosen through a blind submission process. For an afternoon, as guests of Katherine Quinn at the Anthony Quinn House, this year’s Fellows engaged in a Master Class with Distinguished Visiting Writer, Claire Messud.




We are pleased to honor the 2016-2017 Bermont Fellows:
Alexis den Boggende
Kaitlin Della Rocca
Olivia Fritz
Kerlie Merizier
Brittany Parziale
Adrienne Wooster

The following evening, in a collaboration between the RWU University Library’s Talking in the Library series, the RWU Department of Creative Writing and English Literature, and the Rogers Free Library’s Jane Bodell Endowment, Claire Messud gave a public talk at Rogers Free in Bristol.