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

February 11, 2008
You know me. I’m a hardnosed intellectual, critic, and person of science, just like you. But Valentine’s Day is tricky—hard to stomach but harder to ignore, even for grizzled relationship veterans festooned with campaign medals.
February 6, 2008
A video on the Death Metal in the Libraries Program. Didn't your Master of LibraryScience profs tell you about this? (Note: It loaded slowly for me.)By way of our friends at Wholphin, the quarterly DVD magazine.
February 1, 2008
Oh, I know: Your drifts are bigger than our drifts, and all that. Our friends in Green Bay won’t be impressed, but we’ve been having some weather here this week. Tuesday morning it was nearly 50 degrees.
January 31, 2008
This week’s Economist brings news that Dr.
January 25, 2008
One of the oddest things about being a homeowner in a university town is the stuff that gets left in our yard. Our neighborhood has a lot of student housing, and open street parking, so students are always around and leave us all sorts of little offerings.
January 23, 2008
One of the TAs in my group office had a public conniption today over her student evaluations from last semester. The packets had been put in all our mailboxes, now that grades are a done deal. Her fellow Ph.D. candidate talked her down with something about statistical variation, and how students are know-nothing, don’t-listen, can’t-do kids who will probably write better as a result of her class but resented the work of being made to learn.
January 21, 2008
The website for mtv U. has a page of video responses by professors around the country to student comments at RateMyProfessors.com. The profs are largely goodhumored and relaxed, so while their responses provide no more details than the original student comments, they somehow manage to be disarming.Except maybe Professor Adams of Pace University, accused of speaking in monotone, whom I find the most endearing of all.
January 18, 2008
My intern brought me my tray in bed this morning as usual, with my copy of Inside Higher Ed, still damp from the press, folded neatly next to my coffee and grapefruit.
January 15, 2008
One of the main benefits of studying abroad has always been the new perspective that immersion in another culture provides on one’s own. We understood that back in the fourth grade, when we were taken to see the workings of the instant pudding factory upstate, a field trip as exotic and exciting to us as the Grand Tour.
January 11, 2008
James e-mailed this week to say he’d flunked out of Hinterland. I’d had to fail him in my lecture class that ended just before the holidays, and I felt a pang of sadness and guilt.


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