Higher Education Webinars

The Education of Oronte Churm

Oronte Churm is the pen name of John Griswold, who teaches in the MFA program at McNeese State University, proudly nestled in Cajun country on the Louisiana Gulf.

May 6, 2009 - 5:19pm
When my novel (due out July 1) was accepted for publication, I announced it here under the title, “Hot Dog! My First Book!”. Today I have the pleasure to say I’ve signed a contract for my second book, a brief nonfiction history of the community where my novel is set, with The History Press.
May 2, 2009 - 11:00am
The more biographies I read, the more I sense the difficulties of the form. Many are patchy, uneven; the herky-jerk of a life doesn’t play to the modulated rhythm of story. Biography may be the most self-contradictory literary form: It portrays randomness even as it pretends to coherence.Yet there’s almost always power in a biography, the experience of decades intensified into a few reading days, like watching a speeded-up film of a seedling that grows to die.
April 29, 2009 - 2:54pm
Today I have the pleasure of posting an interview with Catherine Gass, who’s been the Photographer at the Newberry Library for the last ten years. The Newberry, an independent research library open to the public without charge, is one of my favorite places in Chicago, and Catherine’s work is vital to their mission of research, preservation and education.
April 22, 2009 - 11:44pm
The last couple of years have brought reportage (see here and here, for instance) on scholars becoming involved with activities of the U.S. military. One wonders what will develop under the new administration.
April 14, 2009 - 8:16am
Little-known until now, the Tibetan Book of the Adjunct: Liberation Through Understanding in the Between provides spiritual guidance to those in the process of losing their jobs, due to ACT requirements being lowered by the college so students can be pushed through the system more rapidly and cheaply. It’s a terrifying time of transition between the state of employment and the darkness of food stamps for those not in the tenure stream, and after calling the adjunct by name, you should orient her as follows:
April 11, 2009 - 1:09am
Even after years of observing the phenomenon, I have no explanation. Obviously, one might think that on a rainy Monday morning, in the slump after midterms, fewer people would be walking on campus because fewer might be expected to go to classes. Or that on fine spring afternoons many would be out and about, even if they were walking past their classrooms, bound for trysts and other assignations. Actually, there’s no way to predict.
April 3, 2009 - 6:34pm
Hemingway felt it in Paris:[Y]ou could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning, Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life. […] When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason. In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.
April 1, 2009 - 3:08pm
There are many ways to play with your food, from making sustainable gingerbread houses to molding Jell-o buildings, but today, April Fool’s Day, is (really) the official International Edible Book Festival, and with the future of traditional publishing in question, maybe it’s time to consider other mod
March 27, 2009 - 6:52pm
Comedy, it’s been said, is made possible by incomplete understanding. If one fully understood another’s suffering, the story would turn tragic. The difference between the two might be deemed a problem of translation.Readers often judge literature and drama by sum or end-game: If there’s a predominance of comic elements or the work ends in marriage, it’s comedy. But life isn’t often like this, despite our eulogies—how should we feel about the sum of Sam Clemens?—and neither is good writing.
March 23, 2009 - 10:17am
Some of my students may be joshin’ me; they all insist they’re going home to study, eat a few good meals, and get some rest this week.

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