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.

He teaches in the MFA program at McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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Most Recent Articles

April 24, 2008
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
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
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
Or so the sign implies:
April 4, 2008
April 1, 2008
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
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."
March 26, 2008
One of the added benefits (for me, anyway) of revealing my real name is being able to share other published work. I'm having a good year so far, with short stories and essays forthcoming in War, Literature & the Arts; Perigee; Monkey Bicycle; Juked, and elsewhere. I'll link as they come available, for those who might be interested.
March 21, 2008
We’re finishing our spring break with a couple of days at the Hyatt on the Chicago River, and this view out our window yesterday made me think of the second half of Sandburg’s “The Harbor”:

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