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

July 20, 2007
My preceding post was about a collection of poems by an 18th-century Vietnamese concubine, Ho Xuan Huong, who wrote in an ideographic script a thousand years old that’s now nearly extinct in Vietnam. This script, Nôm, was replaced by a Latin-based script, quoc ngu, created by the Jesuit missionary Alexander de Rhodes in the 17th century.
July 18, 2007
Back at the end of February I set out to blog about Spring Essence, a collection of poems b
July 13, 2007
It was blessedly cool and bright today, and I walked over to campus, where I haven’t been in weeks.
July 11, 2007
Murray Sperber writes in Declining by Degrees that an “Academic Arms Race” began in the post-Sputnik boom-era for higher ed. Colleges aspired to be universities, and universities competed for prestige by building up their research programs and feeling “impelled to grant advanced degrees in almost all areas.” That is, they followed the federal money.
July 9, 2007
A devoted reader writes to ask, “What should I be reading this summer?”
July 6, 2007
There is a heaven after all
June 30, 2007
We’ll be traveling for a few days, and I expect my posts to be intermittent next week, so here’s a long tale about how we’re educated into responsibility.
June 26, 2007
I didn’t grow up with a father, so my two sons have exactly as much experience with actual fatherhood as I do. What we’ve learned together is that fathers are mercurial, full of farts and orders, radiant with heat on a summer’s night already too hot for sleep. Fathers love words and pay children the compliment of deep attentiveness. They’re who you call for when you wake in pain. They cultivate the comforting myth of invincibility.
June 21, 2007
In order to halt growing criticism (covered by Inside Higher Ed and the New York Times) of their ranking of the reputations of American colleges and universities, U.S.News & World Report will no longer poll those not associated with a school for their opinion of that school. Instead, U.S.
June 19, 2007
I was plucked by McSweeney’s Internet Tendency from gray anonymity and propelled onto the glamorous stage of Internet pseudonymity , where I first caught the eyes of the just-as-astute editors at Inside Higher Ed. As a result, I became, as you know, the very first personal valet to IHE founding editor Doug Lederman.


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