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.

January 29, 2007 - 5:57pm
Our house was built at the end of the Civil War and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in part because the man who built it also brought the university to town by out-scheming other state politicians. In the winter it can look grim, a tall, heavy Italianate rising from a plain of mud. The trees that keep grass from growing are bare themselves now too, and when squirrels have been burying nuts, the yard looks like a tidal flat scarred with land-crab holes.
January 25, 2007 - 8:37am
My mom was a teacher. What’s more—and it is more, since not all teachers are the same—she had an intense curiosity and so was a perpetual student herself. But in the way that a deeply spiritual person may not care for organized religion, she didn’t trust schools’ rules and rituals, or even some of my teachers, whom she’d observed as a colleague.
January 19, 2007 - 1:20am
I read Scott McLemee’s column on clutter yesterday in my office. Administrators refer to the room as the Adjunct Ghetto (we share it with TAs), and the decrepitude and overcrowding are manifestations of our status. Think of scenes from Titanic where poor but life-loving immigrants huddle in steerage. It’s like that, without hope for drinking, cavorting, or baring your bad teeth in a lecherous grin at Kate Winslet.
January 18, 2007 - 2:35pm
I don't know what that means, but they tell me the kids these days are all crazy for it.
January 16, 2007 - 9:23am
Having just returned from an academic conference, I know the rigors of professional travel. I boarded the plane in Philly and saw my former boss seated far down the aisle. He snickered when I shuffled close enough to see for myself that I was next to a young father with a toddler in his lap.
January 14, 2007 - 8:57am
When's the last time you listened to the entire "I Have a Dream" speech?
January 12, 2007 - 10:08am
Half-baked thoughts, then, toward an AWP presentation that won’t be:Jokes, the good Dr. Freud said famously, are often “hostile.” (That, or obscene: the jokes of “exposure.”) Aggressiveness, satire, and defense belong to the “hostile” camp, and I’m interested in how sharp-edged jokes are used to cut the threat of physical violence. My idea is that satire, if that’s what I’m talking about here, pretends to embrace the values and rules of a given situation, then takes them too far (by a step or a mile), producing a backlash against the original situation.
January 11, 2007 - 8:29am
I tried to put a panel session together for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference in Atlanta this spring.
January 9, 2007 - 4:19pm
Once there was a writer for one of America's biggest catalog companies. Perhaps because the young man was a veteran, because he showed up for work, met his deadlines, and wore trendy J.C.
January 5, 2007 - 5:01pm
A film corollary to my last post, about bad books:The media always reports on how emotionally hard the holidays can be, even while showing consumers joyously throwing their paychecks to grinning Macy’s clerks.

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