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

November 14, 2007
There was a roundtable here last Friday on creative-writing pedagogy. I hadn’t RSVP’d for the event but agreed to go at the last minute to represent administrator Rory, sick in bed with stomach flu. It would be easy. I’d just smile a lot and pretend I had a goatee.
November 11, 2007
My friend Dan and I grew up together. He and his wife are the godparents of our sons, and they have two children about the same ages.
November 9, 2007
I had thought parents’ night at Starbuck’s kindergarten was for the kids to show us their artwork, which hung around the walls. They’d made enough fruit salad earlier in the day to fill a gigantic punch bowl, and the bananas had gone black. There were also six baby carrots and six celery sticks. It was long after dinner, nearly the kids’ bedtime, and none of the parents touched the food. The kids served themselves neat, perfect portions and stood eating them from paper plates, like small faculty members at an honors banquet.
November 7, 2007
Inner Station (AP)
November 2, 2007
Next week, there will likely be a three-day strike by service workers on the Hinterland campus, and I don’t know yet how many of my classes might be affected.
October 30, 2007
I think I was supposed to be Count Vronsky from Anna Karenina.
October 29, 2007
Doesn’t have to be the Chancellor. Could be. Drives a Beemer. Big smile, pants are too tight at the waist, too long at the heels. Afraid to go to the optometrist for a checkup, has noticed each of his eyes sees a different quality of light. His right one sees warm tones, happy days; his left sees cold, bluish. Found an alumni donor in Hong Kong who’s got five mil for the endowment if presented an acrylic trophy at a dinner. Remember to get the trophy laser-etched with a picture of the donor’s college. Remember to make the evil eye smile at the reception.
October 26, 2007
Two weeks ago we went to see The Tempest at the University of Illinois’ Krannert Center f or the Performing Arts. It was one of the most amazing aesthetic experiences I’ve ever had. Two previous posts on this can be found here and here.
October 19, 2007
I’m in Chicago, since Crazy Larry finally got me a comp ticket to the play he’s in. It’s a good deal.
October 17, 2007
My friend Chip wants to be my life coach. He said those words. When I asked what he meant, he said he has the objectivity to help me make important decisions—mostly writing- and career-related—that will “get you where you want to be.”I rarely put good advice to use, let alone that of a guy who orders three entrees when he goes to IHOP so he can be sure he’s not missing out on something.

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