Oronte

John Griswold, who uses the pen name Oronte Churm at Inside Higher Ed and elsewhere, was born in Vietnam and raised in coal country in Southern Illinois. His stories, poems, and essays have appeared in War, Literature and the Arts; Brevity; Natural Bridge;  and Ninth Letter. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, listed as notable in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009, and included in The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. 3 (WW Norton).

His most recent book is a collection of essays, Pirates You Don't Know, and Other Adventures in the Examined Life (University of Georgia Press 2014), now available for pre-order. He is also the author of a novel, A Democracy of Ghosts, and a nonfiction book, Herrin: The Brief History of an Infamous American City.

He teaches in the MFA program at McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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Most Recent Articles

April 8, 2007
My wife and I will soon open part of our home as Churm House, an inn for wayward academics.
April 3, 2007
We have a brilliant young scholar friend whose critical mind won’t rest. Last summer he performed a Marxist critique of Thomas the Tank Engine while our kids watched the videos at our feet. (“’They’re the really useful crew?’” he said as the theme song began. “It’s a lesson in class identity. Relations of production!”) He’s also written about James Bond and told me how Bond’s capitalist fetish for commodities went hand-in-hand with an empire’s “license to kill.”
April 2, 2007
March 29, 2007
I planned at the start of this blog to have occasional guest writers, and today I'm pleased to bring you a dispatch from the first one, a young English teacher currently in South Korea. Enjoy!  --Churm  
March 26, 2007
March 23, 2007
My Dear Mrs. Churm,
March 22, 2007
On campuses everywhere, the entire week before any break should be set aside for these kinds of colloquies:
March 20, 2007
That’s the headline of the world’s most successful advertisement, regardless of product—or would be, if someone had the courage to use it, said one of my former roommates, the director of a corporate art department. Well, now it’s been done.
March 16, 2007
If you read my stuff, you know I’m a delicate flower—exquisitely sensitive—and a lover, not a fighter. But a self-reflective teacher has to be aware of his or her vibe in the classroom.
March 11, 2007
Is burnout a big force, like depression or exhaustion? Or is it an “incremental perturbation,” as John Barth calls drama, the accumulation of minor irritations and petty indignities until one day the thermostat clicks and the furnace of grievance fires up? Maybe burnout is something more mysterious and ineffable. Maybe jobs have hidden life-cycles based on natural laws, and human animals can sense their impending deaths, even when our conscious minds insist everything’s great: “Dave’s got a birthday, and we’re all going out to that Mexican place!” “Ooh! Margaritas!”

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