“North Maine Woods” (a few thoughts in fewer words)

Cz.K. Sebő’s new capsule boy song, “North Maine Woods,” came out just a few hours ago. (capsule boy is his electronic project.) This dreamy, veiled piece is (in part) a love song to the place in Maine where he worked one summer, years ago, and where he has never returned. The immediate feeling is recognizable: a place that you love and can never return to, because even if you do go back there one day, it will be different and so will you. A loss that can’t be taken away. But also a sense of being there forever, always carrying it. Both of these at the same time.

But then what the song does with this is so gentle and subtle that even the idea seems like a passageway into something else. I love the part in the middle where the keyboards sound like trees on fire. And the part where everything pares down, then slowly builds up, rises up again. The sound has many different textures wrapping and unwrapping slowly. Individual notes take me by surprise. It evokes some sort of memory or else creates it from scratch, sending me on a search.

It evokes other music too—I can’t figure out what. Maybe Brendan Perry’s 1999 solo album Eye of the Hunter, for instance, the song “Death Will Be My Bride.” Perry’s sound is different, though: more upfront and pristine. I don’t think I’ll figure out what this reminds me of, since it’s an indirect likeness. For that matter, it might be reminding me of itself, since I have heard it a couple times at concerts. This can happen with a song I love: it seems to bring up another song, but that other song is like the woods in Maine, lost but present.

I don’t know whether this or “Funeral Circular” is my favorite capsule boy song so far. Let them both be, in different ways.

Congratulations to Cz.K. Sebő for this song and to Fruzsina Balogh for the cover art.

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  • “Setting Poetry to Music,” 2022 ALSCW Conference, Yale University

  • Always Different



    Diana Senechal is the author of Republic of Noise: The Loss of Solitude in Schools and Culture and the 2011 winner of the Hiett Prize in the Humanities, awarded by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. Her second book, Mind over Memes: Passive Listening, Toxic Talk, and Other Modern Language Follies, was published by Rowman & Littlefield in October 2018. In April 2022, Deep Vellum published her translation of Gyula Jenei's 2018 poetry collection Mindig Más.

    Since November 2017, she has been teaching English, American civilization, and British civilization at the Varga Katalin Gimnázium in Szolnok, Hungary. From 2011 to 2016, she helped shape and teach the philosophy program at Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science & Engineering in New York City. In 2014, she and her students founded the philosophy journal CONTRARIWISE, which now has international participation and readership. In 2020, at the Varga Katalin Gimnázium, she and her students released the first issue of the online literary journal Folyosó.


    On April 26, 2016, Diana Senechal delivered her talk "Take Away the Takeaway (Including This One)" at TEDx Upper West Side.

    Here is a video from the Dallas Institute's 2015 Education Forum.  Also see the video "Hiett Prize Winners Discuss the Future of the Humanities." 

    On April 19–21, 2014, Diana Senechal took part in a discussion of solitude on BBC World Service's programme The Forum.  

    On February 22, 2013, Diana Senechal was interviewed by Leah Wescott, editor-in-chief of The Cronk of Higher Education. Here is the podcast.


    All blog contents are copyright © Diana Senechal. Anything on this blog may be quoted with proper attribution. Comments are welcome.

    On this blog, Take Away the Takeaway, I discuss literature, music, education, and other things. Some of the pieces are satirical and assigned (for clarity) to the satire category.

    When I revise a piece substantially after posting it, I note this at the end. Minor corrections (e.g., of punctuation and spelling) may go unannounced.

    Speaking of imperfection, my other blog, Megfogalmazások, abounds with imperfect Hungarian.

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