Oronte

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.

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Most Recent Articles

April 11, 2009
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
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
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
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
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.
March 15, 2009
March is Small Press Month, “a nationwide celebration highlighting the valuable work produced by independent publishers. Held annually in March, Small Press Month raises awareness about the need for broader venues of literary expression.”The event—now in its thirteenth year—is co-sponsored by The New York Center for Independent Publishing (NYCIP), The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP), and the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA).
March 9, 2009
Well, that post title was a little redundant, don’t you think? For my readers not in academe, Cary Nelson is the Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the 49th (and current) president of the American Association of University Professors. Recent books include Revolutionary Memory: Recovering the Poetry of the American Left (Routledge, 2003) and Office Hours: Activism and Change in the Academy (Routledge, 2004).
March 6, 2009
There must be a newly-minted Ph.D. out there, diss unpublishable, who’d like to write a book for a general audience on the visual rhetoric of wonder cabinets. Please do, so I won’t have to devote the next two years of my life to the subject. All I ask is thanks in the acknowledgments.
March 4, 2009
I’m the best teacher who ever lived. Anyway I think that’s what the Provost said in the letter she sent to congratulate me for winning the Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. I’m honored most by the fact that my former and present students generated and supported my nomination, and that I’ll be presented at a ceremony with a sack of money, which I hear will buy things.
February 26, 2009
A longish essay I wrote last year has appeared in the twentieth-anniversary issue of the terrific literary journal War, Literature & the Arts. It's a print journal with an online site, and since your tax dollars helped me publish this time around (the journal is based at the U.S Air Force Academy), I'll kindly give you a link, if you're interested, so you can read for absolutely free. Now can we stop all that hard talk about arts funding during economic downturns?

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