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

January 25, 2007
My mom was a teacher. What’s more—and it is more, since not all teachers are the same—she had an intense curiosity and so was a perpetual student herself. But in the way that a deeply spiritual person may not care for organized religion, she didn’t trust schools’ rules and rituals, or even some of my teachers, whom she’d observed as a colleague.
January 19, 2007
I read Scott McLemee’s column on clutter yesterday in my office. Administrators refer to the room as the Adjunct Ghetto (we share it with TAs), and the decrepitude and overcrowding are manifestations of our status. Think of scenes from Titanic where poor but life-loving immigrants huddle in steerage. It’s like that, without hope for drinking, cavorting, or baring your bad teeth in a lecherous grin at Kate Winslet.
January 18, 2007
I don't know what that means, but they tell me the kids these days are all crazy for it.
January 16, 2007
Having just returned from an academic conference, I know the rigors of professional travel. I boarded the plane in Philly and saw my former boss seated far down the aisle. He snickered when I shuffled close enough to see for myself that I was next to a young father with a toddler in his lap.
January 14, 2007
January 12, 2007
Half-baked thoughts, then, toward an AWP presentation that won’t be: Jokes, the good Dr. Freud said famously, are often “hostile.” (That, or obscene: the jokes of “exposure.”) Aggressiveness, satire, and defense belong to the “hostile” camp, and I’m interested in how sharp-edged jokes are used to cut the threat of physical violence. My idea is that satire, if that’s what I’m talking about here, pretends to embrace the values and rules of a given situation, then takes them too far (by a step or a mile), producing a backlash against the original situation.
January 11, 2007
January 9, 2007
Once there was a writer for one of America's biggest catalog companies. Perhaps because the young man was a veteran, because he showed up for work, met his deadlines, and wore trendy J.C.
January 5, 2007
A film corollary to my last post, about bad books: The media always reports on how emotionally hard the holidays can be, even while showing consumers joyously throwing their paychecks to grinning Macy’s clerks.

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