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

February 25, 2009
As I've said, one of the nice things about the AWP conference was meeting in person some of those whom I've only known online. One of these was Sean Carman, a very funny writer I've appreciated from afar. I asked Sean if he'd come on over to my blogging house for a day, and he graciously agreed.
February 20, 2009
Look, I’m not a conference guy. I’m a walk in the woods guy, an afternoon tea guy, a thicken-the-stew-with-flour, homebody-underwater-Emily-Dickinson-multipledraft-Boston-Fern-natural-light-kids-on-the-lap guy. For me, a gathering of more than three people is a mob. But even I thought the AWP was great this year, and I’m hearing the same from others who say they too are not conference people.
February 14, 2009
The AWP is wrapping up today, and we’ll be jumping on a train later tonight, but I wanted to get one more post in before shutting down the IHE Suite. I’ll have some final thoughts on the conference and pictures next week.Yesterday I went to “Writing From the Ranks: Columbia College Fiction Writing Students Consider Their Military Experiences,” a panel with “Columbia students and veterans from today’s military, Desert Storm, Vietnam, and Korea talk[ing] about creating, catharsis, and the written word.”
February 14, 2009
My colleague Rory did an astonishingly competent job yesterday serving as moderator for the tribute to William Gass, sponsored by the University of Illinois Creative Writing Program and the Carr Reading Series.
February 13, 2009
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
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
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
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
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
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:

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