John Griswold

John Griswold is a staff writer at The Common Reader. His most recent book is a collection of essays, Pirates You Don’t Know, and Other Adventures in the Examined Life (2014, University of Georgia Press). His forthcoming book about veterans at Standing Rock will be published in 2019. He is the founding Series Editor of Crux, a literary nonfiction book series at University of Georgia Press.

Posts by John Griswold

The Challenge of Saying

As the impeachment inquiry makes clear—again—it is difficult to say that which is so. To say true things colorfully or poetically is harder; comically may be even harder; and directly or briefly the hardest of all. “Simplicity is the final achievement,” Chopin is said to have said. “After one has played a vast quantity of […]

Gettysburg and the Problems of Filling a Form

Gettysburg: An American Noh, like most Noh, is nearly plotless. It is “about” a veteran, and descendant of Union General Hancock, who travels to Gettysburg National Military Park, where he meets the ghost of Confederate General Armistead.

Listening Circles on School Violence

The Edwardsville (Illinois) High School had two incidents this month that resulted in the district organizing “listening circles” for parents. On Tuesday, November 5, “EHS Administration was made aware of a racially insensitive and inappropriate social media post that was sent off campus by one student to others via the social media platform, Snapchat,” Dr. […]

“Dolemite is My Name” a Gentle Raunch

For years there were questions about where Eddie Murphy went. It is true that, apart from his Shrek work, and a movie called Mr. Church, in 2016, Murphy has not done much for a long decade. His fans have wondered when his “comeback” might occur. It appears that time has arrived. The first sign is […]

Richard Serra at the Pulitzer

The Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis had special programming on Saturday, but there was time before it began to look at the exhibits and stroll the grounds. Joe, evidently named for Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., sits in a courtyard down a flight of stairs. The sculpture, one of Richard Serra’s “Torqued Spirals,” is a 125-ton […]

How We Get Along

It is one thing to live within a system you cannot admire, and another to do something about it. Those who vowed to move to Canada after the re-election of George W. Bush know this, as do those who vow civil war if Trump is impeached. Not feeling good about your subjective experience among the […]

Peter Matthiessen and the Scale of the World

Peter Matthiessen’s The Cloud Forest: A Chronicle of the South American Wilderness was the same book in the 1980s, when I first read it, as it was on publication in 1961. In the 25-year interval forces had changed the Amazon, but their effects were not as apparent as they have become now. This means the […]

Native Americans Apply the Methods of Sacha Baron Cohen

The video seems legit, with its corporate-sounding platitudes and scenes of pretty families. “Everyone deserves energy,” it begins. “Energy fuels our favorite moments. But lately, the pathway to prosperity has been blocked. Those who live in the way of energy pipelines are also standing up against them, and it’s for good reason.” Cut to the […]

Scary Movies

My extended family has other obligations on Halloween, so we agreed tonight is the night some of us will watch a scary movie on the side of a neighbor’s building. I am not a fan of horror movies, for some of the same reasons I do not consider Stephen King a great literary figure—or maybe […]

Paul Rudd is Not Feeling Like Himself

The first season of the new streaming comedy Living with Yourself just dropped on Netflix. Each of the eight episodes is under 30 minutes, so the entire season can be binged in a night. It is worth a watch. Paul Rudd (most recently, Ant-Man) plays the starring (dual) role. Irish-born Aisling Bea costars as his […]