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

September 9, 2011
What can be said? Writer Philip Graham, who recently posted a book review here, has a moving story called "8:46" in Numéro Cinq. Click through to have a look. I find I don't have any more to say than what I wrote here a couple of years ago, which I'll re-post below. *** "Of Teaching Melville on 9/12"
September 6, 2011
The Army ROTC cadets down by the goalposts didn’t look particularly happy their team was winning. After each conversion they had to jog out in BDU pants, t-shirts, and combat boots, make a formation, drop down, and knock out the number of push-ups in the total score. It didn’t help that the home team was running away with it, so there were many push-ups to do, or that the sun and heat were fierce on game day. One lanky cadet fell behind, and his comrades waited in the Front Leaning Rest until he’d finished pumping out his due.
August 29, 2011
The start of classes on this campus means tens of thousands more people in town and much social confusion. Foot, bike, skateboard, scooter, and car traffic is both swarming and disorganized enough to be dangerous. That young driver down from Winnetka has been taught she can’t let pedestrians bluff her; those students talking excitedly as they saunter across the street aren’t about to be intimidated by dad’s Matador Red, two-ton, Lexus SUV. It’s the principle of the thing.
August 19, 2011
August 4, 2011
Today, contributor Okla Elliott interviews writer and poet Kelly Cherry. I'm traveling and will be back in about 10 days. My thanks to both Kelly and Okla. Enjoy! --Churm *** An Embarrassment of Riches by Okla Elliott
August 2, 2011
The secret of most writers I know is that if they’re writing (and working at whatever job permits them to write), they don’t have much time to read. During the school year, with a full (adjunct) teaching load, as well as independent-study students, university scholar projects, committee attendance, office hours, e-mail correspondence, professional blogging, manuscript preparation, job searches, and domestic life with children, I often can only look wistfully at books that gape off my shelves like loose dentures.
July 29, 2011
Rattlesnake Daddy: A Son’s Search for His Father, by Brent Spencer. The Backwaters Press (2011). $25.00 paper. *** Here I’d like to return briefly to Rattlesnake Daddy, a memoir I reviewed a few days ago.
July 25, 2011
The democratizing effect of contemporary publishing, education and especially technology has created an unprecedented age of personal narrative and commentary. Never in human history have individuals been exposed to so many other people’s visions of the world.
July 19, 2011
Rattlesnake Daddy: A Son’s Search for His Father, by Brent Spencer. The Backwaters Press (2011). $25.00 paper. ***

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