As a reference librarian at NPR, Alphonse researches stories for NPR news reporters and correspondents around the globe, helps fact-check stories before they air, reviews reporters' scripts for pieces they are working on, and alerts NPR's programming staff to story ideas they may consider pursuing or experts who may make good interviews. He also handles pronunciation questions for journalists and broadcasters, a responsibility he shares with NPR library colleague Kee Malesky.
Each month, Alphonse's Musings column highlights the most interesting topics he's come across in his wide reading of new books and articles. A unique overview of diverse fields, his column has sparked quite a few story ideas in NPR's programming division.
Because the NPR reference library supports all divisions at NPR, Alphonse also assists other units with their daily research needs. For NPR's more than 700 stations, Alphonse recently began writing a series of articles about American holidays that stations are reposting on their Web sites and in their program guides.
Alphonse was educated at Yale, the University of Michigan, Boston University, and Simmons College. His undergraduate studies were in Greco-Roman civilization and literature. He has done graduate work in education, social work, and theology and has a master's degree in library science.
Voracious readers may recognize his name: Alphonse has published reviews, essays, poetry translations, and poems in various magazines, including Choice, South Carolina Review, Crisis, New Oxford Review, Southern Cultures Magazine, Southern Quarterly Review, The Stoic Forum, and Zirkus. His first book, Cleanth Brooks and Allen Tate: The Collected Letters, 1933-1976, was published to good reviews in 1998 by the University of Missouri Press. He also authored an essay that was included in the 2001 book Beauty for Ashes: Spiritual Reflections on the Attack on America, which won an award for best spiritual book by the Catholic Press Association.
Alphonse has lectured on many subjects to academic, professional and cultural groups and even served as a judge in the International Brunswick Stew Festival. In addition to his writing life and work at NPR, Alphonse is also an adjunct faculty member of the Catholic University of America. He is currently at work on a memoir of the critic Cleanth Brooks that will be published in 2003, as well as a book on solitude and spirituality. In addition, he notes that he's one of Washington's most eligible bachelors.