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.

February 13, 2009 - 11:15pm
There was a small incident ten minutes into today’s AWP panel “Shameless Promotion: Get the Book to the Readers.” It was advertised as a session where “two poets, a novelist, and a nonfiction writer with books out in 2008 [would] describe strategies they’ve used to garner readers: book tours, book clubs, personal publicists, and the Web….”But two panelists, true to their title, had read or recited their own work, and a third was about to begin, when a woman in the back of the standing-room only crowd shouted, “Some of us were wondering, is this the session on self-marketing?”
February 13, 2009 - 3:16pm
Here's a pre-recorded version of the nonfiction reading I did today at AWP. Parts of it have appeared in different form in the journal Brevity, in my column at McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and here at Inside Higher Ed. It was long enough that it needed to be broken up into two parts (here and here), so just click each in turn. It's called "On Fathers."
February 12, 2009 - 2:18pm
There are many temptations in the big city for a couple of fellers in from the literary countryside. Today was opening day of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Chicago, and my old friend Frenchy and I hit the irresistible book fair, sponsored by Columbia College Chicago, English Department, Poetry and Nonfiction Programs.
February 6, 2009 - 2:34pm
I’m working to clear the decks for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Chicago next week, including polishing the essay I’ll read there. I had hoped to stream my reading of it for those who couldn’t attend, but as it turns out the hotel wants $8,000(!) to plug my Mac into their sound system.
January 30, 2009 - 6:30pm
I continue today to be educated in new ways to freeze to death in a Victorian house. Though the thermostat maintains its adequate setting, subtle but powerful air currents strip the body of vital heat. I don a stocking cap, decide it’s not enough, add a blanket, then two—one under and one over—in order to work on my laptop. An hour later I feel warm, but unbundled I discover too late that I’ve sweated just enough to dampen my cotton clothing, and I’m hypothermic in minutes.
January 20, 2009 - 12:21am
My occasional book the past few weeks has been Basic Writings of Mo Tzu, Hsün Tzu, and Han Fei Tzu (Columbia UP, 1967), translated by the great Burton Watson. The philosophical writing covers from about 400 to 233 BCE.Han Fei is my least favorite; he was of noble birth, and if he were alive today he would have written editorials in support of a Cheney presidency:
January 16, 2009 - 4:35pm
For those of you who will attend the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Chicago next month, I hope to see you there. In addition to being Inside Higher Ed’s boots on the ground, I’ll be reading with University of Illinois non-fictionists and serving on a panel with fellow McSweeney’s dispatchers.
January 14, 2009 - 7:49pm
My nomination a couple of weeks ago for the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching required letters of support from past and present students. When I read the two letters that appeared in my packet, along with one by the administrator who organized the packet, I began to sob. I had no idea I was so wonderful, and I went straight out and bought a new hat.
January 9, 2009 - 11:29am
The indomitable Professor Cohen writes in response to my most recent post about creative nonfiction and food:
December 31, 2008 - 11:34am
“When at a loss how to go on, cough,” says an ancient Greek proverb. Or so claims 10,000 Jokes, Toasts and Stories: A Mammoth Encyclopedia of Wit and Humor (Doubleday, 1939, last updated 1965), one of several toasting anthologies I consulted at my local library in preparation for your party tonight. Ancient foxed tomes like these, and those that count as new ( Toasts, Delacorte, 1981) are one of many reasons bookstores will never supplant the delight of libraries.

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