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

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”:
March 19, 2008
The way I read this chart by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans are spending on average only 20 minutes per day “Relaxing/Thinking.” (Half the five hours of daily leisure in America goes to TV.) If your youngest child is under six years of age, as ours is, relaxing/thinking drops to 12 minutes, the balance going to nagging him to put slippers back on his cold feet.
March 14, 2008
It’s time for the big reveal, as they say! Contest judge Steve Davenport’s been reading all week to narrow down choices from some 250 entries left between here and LitPark. (Thanks, Susan!) Steve likes to pretend this was hard work, but the guy used to work in a flour mill. Grout factory. Something.
March 12, 2008
Little Truths contest judge Steve Davenport is currently hunkered down with your entries—cogitating, masticating—and I strongly suggest we give him some privacy and time to finish. He says he’ll be ready to post winners here on Friday. In the meantime, here’s a bit on having aesthetic standards, about which I argue with him twice a month.***
March 4, 2008
The Little Truths Writing Contest deadline will be extended until midnight, Monday, March 10.
March 3, 2008
Even if I hadn’t known Unofficial St. Pat’s Day was Friday at Illinois, I would have known something was up. As I walked in to campus along my usual route at 10:30 a.m., I could hear muted shouts from distant apartment buildings. A twin turboprop went over twice at a weirdly low altitude, nearly building-top level, and in the distance a black JetRanger helicopter orbited above some point on campus.
March 1, 2008
For those of you interested in entering my Little Truths Writing Contest, there's about a week left to get those entries in. Deadline is midnight, March 7th, so warm up your word processing machines and submit for a chance at cash and prizes!
February 29, 2008
Would you people please take it easy, today and tomorrow, and use your heads? I'm coming out to take a look, and I don't want any part of me getting damaged--least of all my delicate sensibilities.

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