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 3, 2008 - 12:17pm
Another of the benefits of revealing my real name and location is the ability to profile remarkable people I’ve met. With Josh Birnbaum, I made it just in time: He’s graduating from Illinois in a few days with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. More importantly to both of us, he’s a very talented young photojournalist whose work I discovered for myself while writing about Unofficial St. Pat’s Day. Josh’s photos were in the Daily Illini’s galleries of the event, and I immediately googled his website. His pictures are humane, moving and witty.
May 1, 2008 - 4:22pm
Only yesterday did I hear of the death, last September, of Professor Emeritus James J. McNiece, Jr., of Northern Illinois University.Jim McNiece was my first creative writing teacher, but oddly enough I can’t remember how many classes I took with him—certainly two, maybe three. Was there an independent study? I obviously took whatever he had to give; he once bemusedly told the class that when he walked down the hall in the department, I kept popping out from behind corners to ask him even more questions. (He retired a few years after; I hope I wasn’t the last straw.)
April 24, 2008 - 2:52pm
When I was very little, my mom took me down to the Mississippi to see a river barge that had broken loose from its tug in a recent flood. It was stranded on the bank, overflowing with coal, and we walked down to the thing and touched its hull. It looked to me like a rusted building stuck awkwardly in the mud. The forces involved were terrifying.
April 18, 2008 - 11:17am
It’s been one of those weeks. Our semester is nearly done, and at first I blamed the odd events on spring, when young persons’ fancies lightly turn to thoughts of love, freedom, and playing endless video games all summer long. But there’s something else at work.
April 16, 2008 - 2:55am
Print on Demand (POD) books have been around for several years, but their production quality wasn’t good, since they’re not printed on offset presses in quantity but individually as needed on industrial inkjet printers. Until recently, binding glues often didn’t hold, cover inks were misregistered, and the paper had the look of the outhouse. Using POD—especially for self-publishing—has meant risking scam.
April 12, 2008 - 2:24pm
Or so the sign implies:
April 10, 2008 - 2:02am
Of course printed books have been widely available to the masses since the 19th century, when new technologies in paper milling, lithography, power, and printing presses allowed for millions of page imprints in a day.
April 4, 2008 - 3:06pm
The Academy of American Poets, who originated National Poetry Month 12 years ago for the purpose of “bring[ing] together publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools, and poets aroun
April 1, 2008 - 2:25pm
Happy April Fool’s Day, from registered fool number one. Here are three video clips for your amusement. You don't have to be an adjunct to view them, but it helps.
March 28, 2008 - 11:56pm
Champaign-Urbana is not a small town, though it’s often thought of as one. It’s actually two cities, of course, with separate governments. Urbana is the county seat and address of America’s 14th-largest campus; Champaign is home to the second-largest food manufacturing plant in the world, a 1.6-million square foot Kraft facility that makes enough processed American cheese slices in a year to “stretch from Champaign to the moon."

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