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). 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

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.***
July 7, 2011
***Pacazo, a novel by Roy Kesey. Dzanc Books (2011). $15.40 hardcover, $8.79 Kindle.***Today I have the pleasure of posting a review by one friend of a book by another friend. I know: A good day, right?
June 30, 2011
And to finish off my journal month, a fitting quote copied out from Chekhov's book on Sakhalin: "They keep writing, they keep writing, they keep writing, Oh, Queen of Heaven!"
June 29, 2011
Subtract 30 seconds from my 15 minutes of fame: In the Italian deli with family friends. An old woman walks up to where I stand filling a cup at the soda dispenser. She (suspicious): “Did you write a book about this town?”Me: “Yes, ma’am.”She (triumphant): “I knew you did. My grandson said you talked to his class at the high school but didn’t remember your name.”Me: “Yes, that was for the novel. Have you seen my nonfiction book?”She: “No.” She walks away, mission accomplished and no further interest.
June 27, 2011
Final couplet to an unwritten poem:A desperate way of living, calledGet It While You Can.
June 24, 2011
A and Z have a child whose tonsils must come out. The child wakes from anesthesia in great pain and confusion, calls for A hysterically. Z tries to step in, but the child wants only A, who climbs into the hospital bed to hold and calm him. Z: (jealously) I knew this would happen.


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