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

March 5, 2007
I’ve always been interested in how we know where to go before we know why.
March 4, 2007
1.    Cluelessness2.    Terror3.    Hope4.    Competence5.    Hubris6.    Comeuppance7.    Sabbatical
February 28, 2007
February 26, 2007
A student pouted at me in conference today and said she doesn’t care about writing or reading well. She wants a good grade, and to finish her biology degree, and to get a high-paying job in quality control at her favorite meatpacking plant.
February 22, 2007
February 20, 2007
Multiply 15 minutes of fame by 6 billion people, and you’re bound to run across someone famous sometime. Some encounters are more notable than others. There was that night in Santa Monica, when the girl I was with asked a familiar-looking man at a café table if we’d seen his work, and he said haughtily, “I’ve been in many, many things.” Later that night we remembered he did supermarket commercials in the style of the more famous Mr. Whipple. Later still, the girl borrowed the keys to my truck to get her jacket and stole all my things.
February 15, 2007
Your entries to the “One True Sentence” contest prove you’ve seen and heard some things. No wonder you have that mad gleam in your eyes. It was difficult for Mrs. Churm, but with two sons of her own, she chose, “I’ve seen both of my brother’s crying at the same woman’s kiss that left marks on them that looked like welts, but was only lipstick.” So Noah wins. Noah wins.
February 13, 2007
The "One True Sentence" contest will remain open another day. Give it a try! See the two previous posts for details. Until then, here's an essay I wrote for the current issue of Adjunct Advocate: " On Babies ." (It probably isn't what you think.)
February 11, 2007
In the last post, I wrote about Ernest Hemingway’s “Paris 1922” writing exercise, which helped him find his mature style. “All you have to do is write one true sentence,” he said. “Write the truest sentence that you know.”
February 9, 2007
Students often tell me the old lie they’ve been told themselves—Hemingway’s prose is simplicity itself. (“What do Hemingway scholars have to talk about?” a grad student sneered, a beer and a cig in his hands.) But once you start looking at it, the prose is too idiosyncratic to be called simple. In fact, it looks more like poetry.

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