As in a Dream

Do you know the kind of dream where you realize that you know exactly how things will unfold, because you have already lived them? The poems of Always Different (my translation of Gyula Jenei’s Mindig más) have this kind of dream-insight, but they are not dreams. Or rather, the memory they play with resembles certain dreams. We go back in time to look forward again and see things happen just as we know they will, except that nothing is certain, some key facts get lost along the way, and even verb tenses and moods start to wobble. The poems are surreal and real at once: familiar, reminding me of things, but shifting under my gaze and thoughts. I am proud beyond thoughts that this book has come out and that I can now hold it in my hands.

The project began in the fall of 2018. I had figured out that my colleague Gyula Jenei was a poet and his wife, Marianna Fekete, a literary critic (as well as a teacher of English and biology). My first conversation with Gyula wasn’t a conversation at all. I walked up to him out of the blue and recited one of his poems from memory. I am pretty sure he wasn’t expecting anything like this, but he took it in good cheer.

Soon after that, I found Marianna Fekete’s essay on Béla Markó’s haiku poems. I thought that it would be great to translate that essay and the many haiku poems within it. I began translating Gyula’s work and hers, and we began talking about them. At first, my spoken Hungarian (as well as my Hungarian overall) was very tentative, but over time it grew and relaxed.

Then Literary Matters published five of Gyula’s poems (in the original and in my translation) as well as my translation of Marianna’s essay. (The Massachusetts Review later published a translation as well.) Then the extraordinary happened: the Cowan Center at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture invited us to be the featured guests at their 2019 Education Forum. Little did we know that Covid was a few months around the corner; we went to Dallas in October 2019 and had a glorious autumn week filled with events, conversations, and long walks around the city. Thank you, Claudia MacMillan, Larry Allums, the I.M. Terrell Academy (which we visited), the Dallas Institute, and everyone who was part of this.

One of the Dallas Institute events that week was a private luncheon with guests, including Will Evans, the founder and owner of Deep Vellum Publishing. He was excited about Gyula’s poetry and suggested publishing a book. This book came out in April 2022 and reached me (60 copies) in a big box today.

In the interim between October 2019 and today, there were stretches of industry: completion of the translations, preparation of the manuscript, reponses to the poetry editor’s many comments and queries, review of the proofs, and so forth. There were slight delays because of Covid—but only very slight. The Deep Vellum editors and other staff were committed and helpful all along the way.

All of this sounds spectacular but basic too. The book would not exist, were it not for these people and events. The joy, goodwill, and sheer surprise of the week in Dallas comes back again and again, as do the long conversations with Marianna and Gyula. But for me the best part of all was the translating itself: the long, quiet stretches at home or in a deserted café, with hours ahead and behind, the poems in front of me, and coffee and big dictionaries nearby. I remember translating a poem during a long break in the school day and thinking, how do I return to the world after this? The poems are not removed from the world, but they differ from the hecticness that we wrap ourselves in. Hecticness is only one way of considering time. The book offers something else, something different from anything I have read or lived before.

Five Songs Chosen for a Birthday

All right, I told myself, get up and choose five Hungarian songs for your birthday! Don’t give it much thought; just choose five that you especially love and that are calling you right now. (Why Hungarian songs? Because they are in my ears, thoughts, and life, and if I had to choose songs in English, it would be a much harder task, with decades of favorites, and different kinds of favorites, to consider.)

These are the five. With minimal commentary. A way of marking not only a day, but something that cuts through time.

First, “Felzizeg” (“It buzzes/rustles forth”) by Cz.K. Sebő, from his 2021 album How could I show you the beauty of a life in vain?, one of my favorite albums of any time. I wrote about it and the whole album in the essay “To Crave the Edges of Speech,” published recently in the online version of The Continental Literary Magazine. The song title is better understood through the first line of the lyrics, “Felzizeg a szaradó levelű juhar” (approximately: “The maple tree with its drying leaves is rustling”); but alone the word suggests a rustling, buzzing, rattling sound that bursts gently out of the silence.

Next, “Éjfél” (Midnight) by Galaxisok, from their gorgeous 2017 album Focipályákon sétálsz át éjszaka (You walk across the football fields at night). I love the lyrics, the pace, and the atmosphere.

Next, “Lassú madár” (“Slow bird”) from Platon Karataev’s 2022 album Partért kiáltó. It has been playing in my head recently; I am eager to hear it and their whole concert this Thursday. It evolved slowly from one of Cz.K. Sebő’s early songs, “Fear from passing” (from his 2015 EP The masked undressed); the lyrics are by Gergely Balla.

Next, “Gyertyaláng” (“Candle flame”) by Dávid Szesztay, from his album Iderejtem a ház kulcsát (I am hiding the house key here). I couldn’t attend his concert on Friday—though I had bought a ticket and was looking forward to it—since I had the Shakespeare festival all day long and then had to finish preparing the Torah verses that I was going to chant at the Szim Salom service on Saturday. (All of this went well.) I imagine that this was one of the songs he played.

Finally, a song and an album very new to me (thanks to Cz.K. Sebő for recommending it): Grand Bleu’s “Öreg halász” (Old fisherman), from their 2022 album Gyalog a tengerig (On foot to the sea). Just listen to where this song goes. I will be listening to this album a lot and expect to devote a blog piece to it soon.

There are other songs I could have included as well, but these are great choices, and they came together early in the morning on this lovely-cloudy April 25.

Image credit: Partért kiáltó lyrics book, published by Prae Kiadó. Lyrics by Gergely Balla; illustrations and text layout by Emőke Dobos.

The Shakespeare Festival

It was a great success. Above, you can see the group that came all the way from the Kossuth Lajos Gimnázium in Tiszafüred. There were groups from Karcag and Törökszentmiklós as well, and several groups from Varga, as well as the wonderful Híd Színház in Szolnok and students of József Rigó (who was there as well). The day was filled with performances (of scenes, sonnets, songs), lectures, a workshop, a few introductory remarks, remarks from the jury, and gift bags for the participants.

I was so eager to get to school early (I wanted to be there by 7:00, but arrived at 7:15) that I rushed out the door and forgot my glasses. Once I realized this, there was no time to go back for them, since I had gone to school on foot, with cello. I printed out my introductory remarks (that I had written in Hungarian) in very large font, but even so, I stumbled over a few words. However, that didn’t affect things; once the performances began, everything flew.

The Hamlet scene (which I had helped my students prepare, along with sonnets and songs—but which they prepared entirely by themselves in the end) was intense and beautiful from start to finish.

The pieces were traditional, experimental, or both, in Hungarian or English; they contrasted enough with each other to keep the whole day interesting. The feeling in the room (both rooms, both parts of the day) was warm and lively; we had a substantial audience, including former Varga students (Zalán and Petra, thank you for coming!), and the performers and their teachers seemed to enjoy the whole event.

There will be more pictures, videos, interviews, and thoughts—so I will leave off here with just a few more photos. Thanks to everyone who helped bring this into being and who helped out in any way. Thanks especially to the Verseghy Ferenc Könyvtár and to my colleagues at Varga, who carried this from an idea into an actual occasion.

Update: Here is the SzolnokTV report on the festival!

Happy Passover!

This evening the rabbi and I are leading the Szim Salom community seder at the Hotel Benczúr in Budapest. I am busy preparing, and leave Szolnok in just a few hours, so this will be short.

It is our first seder in person since 2019, so I am grateful for that! Lots of people will be there, from around the world, and we will hold a Pesach seder according to our Haggadah, along with feasting, songs, and stories.

It is customary in many Jewish communities, around this holiday, to think about what enslavement and liberation means to each of us, and what it means in the world. As far as the world is concerned, war is analogous to enslavement (though not the same thing), because if you are caught in it, you lose the ability to direct your own life. Some choices you still can make, but other choices, including whether to make it to the next day or whether to keep your dog, are made for you. It is not going to be easy to bring the war in Ukraine to an end; the Russian government seems bent on continuing, and many countries opposed to the war are trying to play it safe. But if somehow this could be halted permanently, then that would be liberation, though not the end of the problems. Millions have seen their lives upended, and thousands have not lived to see it. Others, whose lives are relatively stable, still feel the anxiety of a possible terrible turn.

As for enslavement in my country of origin, I hope that discussions of racism in the U.S. will come to balance confrontation with humanity, so that people can boldly look at history and the current situation—in classrooms, in private conversation, in the media, in introspection—while also respecting the dignity and infinity of others, no matter what their race or background. These two truths can be held at once: that there are many deep-rooted problems to address, and that no one can sum up another, no one knows entirely what another person has gone through or thinks or feels.

As for personal liberation, I have been leaving years of fears behind, even recently: fears of failure and disappointment, fears that things important to me would go wrong. It puzzles me that it took so long. Still I know that life doesn’t always go the way I wish, or the way anyone wishes. Disappointments happen for all sorts of reasons, but they aren’t inevitable. That’s a big shift for me: knowing that things I care about can go well, and taking part in them with that calm knowledge.

Chág Peszách Száméách! And happy Easter! And to those celebrating neither, have a nice long weekend, if indeed your weekend is long! And if it isn’t, may it still have some restfulness and cheer.

An essay in The Continental Literary Magazine (online)

I am proud and honored that my essay “To Crave the Edges of Speech“—about Cz.K. Sebő’s 2021 album, How could I show you the beauty of a life in vain?—has been published in the online version of The Continental Literary Magazine, an international journal launched last October by the Petőfi Cultural Agency and led by editor in chief Sándor Jászberényi, with Eszter Jászberényi as online editor and social media manager (and a number of others serving in editorial and other capacities). From what I have read in it so far, I admire its quality, its liveliness, and its inclusion of contrasting, sometimes even opposite viewpoints. I wrote the essay specifically for the second issue, whose theme is craving. I am grateful that The Continental appreciated and accepted it. The essay is important to me in different ways and on several levels, but I will say just the following and let the rest speak for itself.

I have had many essays published (in addition to books, poetry translations, etc.), but this is the first one on music that has been printed anywhere besides my blog (except that the Budapest Symphony Orchestra translated my piece about their Don Giovanni performance in New York and posted it on their website). Two of my interviews with musicians (The Breeders and Belly) were published long ago in the Yale Herald, I wrote a series of satirical music reviews (of imaginary bands) for Warped Reality, and a chapter of my second book discusses Hebrew cantillation; but other than that, my musical writings have appeared only here (and on past blog sites), and quite often, for that matter. I don’t write music reviews, and wouldn’t want to; the essays take their own shape and content. This is my favorite one so far.

Many thanks to Sándor and Eszter Jászberényi, and to the entire Continental staff, for making this possible and real. And thanks to Cz.K. Sebő for his music.

A Holocaust Memorial, Spoken at School

In addition to being the last day before our spring break, this was also our Holocaust Memorial day. Hungary’s Holocaust memorial falls on April 16; since that falls in our spring break, we commemorated it today.

The music teacher, Andrea Barnáné Bende, had envisioned an event where we (the whole school) would gather in the courtyard and recite János Pilinszky’s “Ravensbrücki passió.” Before this, there would be music; afterwards, a minute of silence; then music again and the conclusion of the ceremony.

She was dedicated to bringing this about: helping students learn the poem, announcing the event many times, stressing its importance, talking about it with individual colleagues, and reminding us of it at the last minute. I memorized the poem about ten days beforehand and brought it to my students numerous times. Other teachers did the same. And there were students who took the lead in learning the poem and leading the recitation.

I had no idea how focused and moving this would be. Thanks to Andrea and the whole school.

Non-backpack day

Today was the day before our short spring break, and the overall spirit in the school was exceptional. It went in two directions, silly and solemn. I will take up the silly here. The solemn part will be in the next blog post.

The student government had declared this day a non-backpack day. That is, students were to bring their books and supplies to school in anything but a backpack. This was the most joyously outrageous and bizarre event I have witnessed at Varga so far. As far as containers go, I saw a birdcage, a fishing net, a shopping cart (above), a trash bag, cat carriers, a cooler, baskets, a desktop PC case, a chest of drawers, hangers with clothespins, various outlandish bags, a front-pack, a cardboard file cabinet, a toolbox, a hanging organizer, and all sorts of other things.

I hope we do this (or something comparable) next year. Thanks to all the students for their inspiration and sense of fun.

I participated too, though by accident! I left my backpack at home today because I was bringing my cello in for our Shakespeare rehearsal. So I was carrying the big cello case around for a good part of the day and getting some good-hearted laughs. But the cello was actually inside it. I arrived at the school before 7 a.m. and went to the drama room to warm up and practice. That was a beautiful half hour or so, followed by an even more beautiful day. More about the day in the next post.

“O my prophetic soul!”

Here in Hungary I have taught Hamlet three times, to three different classes. My students will be performing a scene from Hamlet in the Shakespeare festival. But what is it about Hamlet that pulls me back again and again? Hamlet’s dark wit, his encounters with the beyond, the complexity of the characters, the beloved memorized passages, is that it? All of that, but there’s something more too. Hamlet is burdened by his own intuition; he knows things he is not supposed to know. When the ghost of his father reveals how he died, Hamlet exclaims, “O my prophetic soul!” This prophetic tendency is his gift and his weight to bear.

I do not believe in ESP or fortune-telling; as far as I know, divination goes wrong at least as often as it goes right. But I do believe in intuition; I have a modest amount of it. A person can sense things without being informed of them directly. This brings up a quandary. What do you do with knowledge that you are not really supposed to have? Most of the time, it’s possible just to set it aside; it is not our business to do anything with it at all, and it might not even be correct.

Hamlet does not have the luxury of setting it aside. Because of who he is, he knows he must act on it, but he hesitates, fearing that the ghost was just a hallucination and that its message was false. It is fascinating that he hits upon the idea of testing it through a play: “The play’s the thing / Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.” So-called reality will not bring the truth out, but art will.

But he still hesitates; he sees the king praying and says to himself, “Now might I do it pat”—but realizes that if he killed him now, Claudius would be sent to heaven. Ironically he is fooled by the image, the outward form, of prayer; Claudius knows too well that his prayer is insincere.

It takes the rest of the play for Hamlet to become ready (not just for action, but for whatever might come with it); his words “the readiness is all” are in a sense the story of his life.

In some sense or other, does it not take each of us our whole life to be ready for the completion, whatever it might be? Some are not ready when they die; their lives are ripped away from them too soon. Others are ready long beforehand. Some have much to go through, many peaks and valleys, openings and closings, before they can be ready. The readiness of this kind cannot be rushed. It has to take its own time. In Hamlet’s case, maybe months; in the case of others, maybe decades.

The readiness cannot be known except through intuition. It is not detectable through medical devices. It might not be expressed in words. It is not necessarily readiness for death. It is, rather, a readiness to be mortal, like everyone else, and through being mortal, maybe, just maybe, step over into a different level of life. Maybe not. But the willingness, the opennness, is there. The prophetic soul opens up.

Not a whit, we defy augury: there’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is’t to leave betimes?

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act V, Scene ii

I think I have many years before that readiness. I feel nowhere near ready now. But I see it in Hamlet, and it glows so brightly that through the play it becomes part of me too.

Engraving: Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus and the Ghost, by Robert Thew, after Henry Fuseli. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum.

You Might Call This a Full Week

Things are so busy right now, with so many details to keep track of, that I have several running lists of things to do, and a calendar that I repeatedly check. Without these, I would probably forget something big.

There are two things coming up that I am very excited about but can’t mention yet (until they come closer to reality). One is a project for the fall, the other a publication. More about the former sometime in May or June, if all goes well; more about the latter this week (again, if all goes well).

So, let’s backtrack to April 2. That evening I went to hear Santa Diver (Luca Kézdy, Dávid Szesztay, and Dávid Szegő) at the Mom Kulturális Központ in Buda. It was emotionally, soulfully, technically, rhythmically thrilling. No matter what kind of music you listen to, I think it would be hard not to be amazed by them. My favorites were the somewhat slower, melancholic pieces, but the whole concert was superb.

Sunday I tried to catch up with things, and the day went by too fast, as it is doing now as well. Monday was a regular busy teaching day.

On Tuesday, my colleague Gyula (whose poetry I have translated—the book is already out!) approached me about a literary event he was holding at school that afternoon. The performing duo Mariann Talliánn and Balázs Lázár, who give many literary dramatic performances, were going to perform poems by Mihály Vörösmarty. It is no accident that I live on Vörösmarty Street; I wanted the street name to have some meaning for me, even though I wasn’t well acquainted with Vörösmarty’s poetry at the time. So, after initial hesitation—I had way too much to do—I went. I was surprised at how fresh and contemporary Vörösmarty’s poetry sounded. I keep returning to “Az Éj monológja” (“Monologue of the Night.”)

That evening I had an online oral exam practice session for students, as I have been doing on Tuesday evenings for a little while now.

Then on Wednesday after school I rushed off to Budapest for an evening doctor’s appointment. (All is well; I had had a very small surgery two weeks earlier, and the doctor removed the stitches. I am very glad to be on top of this and in such good care.)

On Thursday afternoon, I gave a “professional development” presentation about Folyosó. Only three people came (two of them from my school), but that was all right; my presentation was somewhat spontaneous anyway, and still a lot came out of it that was of interest to us all, I think. (Toward the end, we talked about what directions Folyosó could take in the future.)

On Friday afternoon, after school, I went to Budapest again; first I met with Csenger Kertai, whose poems I have been translating. Then I went to a Demodino/Capsule boy concert (featuring the electronic music projects of Bandi Bognár and Cz.K. Sebő). I had originally planned to go to a literary/drama event, but didn’t want to miss this; except for a couple of songs, I didn’t know what their electronic projects were like.

I have never seen or heard anything like this, although it wasn’t blatantly experimental. They both performed the whole show together, trading off with the microphone but staying within and moving to each other’s songs. The sound was (for me) unexpectedly and wonderfully quiet: no booming, thumping beats but rather a volume and rhythm that you could relax into. The music was lively, melancholic, friendship-filled, genuine, and deep. And it was at the Babicska, a funky underground gallery and club, filled with a hearty audience. After their duo performance, they continued on to DJ for a while, but I left for my hotel, since I needed to get some sleep.

The next morning, I led a service at Szim Salom. What really struck me was how it seemed to be a continuation of the previous evening, not a departure from it. The incantatory music, the togetherness, the good cheer, the subtle shifts of mood, all seemed to be coming from a similar source, at least as I receive them. I am starting to see that the seeming fragments in people’s lives are often (though not always) illusory; that there are unities behind our various components and compartments, or at least intersections between them. Others might not always see or understand the unities and intersections, but so be it.

Afterwards I rushed back to Szolnok, because I had to get ready to participate (through Zoom) in my cousin Julian’s bar mitzvah ceremony (in Portland, Oregon). But I also had the thought that if I got back to Szolnok in time, I could see the Varga Drama Club perform at the library. And it worked out; I arrived just in time to see them perform their interpretation and rendition of István Örkény’s story (poem? prose-play?) “Egy magyar író dedikációi” (“A Hungarian writer’s dedications/inscriptions”). It was zestful and graceful in its movement, articulation, music, humor. And I know many though not all of the students.

The bar mitzvah ceremony transcended all of the Zoom quirks; Julian radiated joy and goodness. I was exhausted afterwards; after a little bit of thought, I went to sleep.

This morning, I caught up on grading and Shakespeare festival planning. This afternoon I go back to Budapest for Gergely Balla’s Partért kiáltó lyrics book release, in which he will speak with Vecsei H. Miklós and perform some of the songs. I couldn’t possibly miss that, given that I can actually go. And it’s in the afternoon, so I will have some evening time when I return.

Much more is ahead: the Shakespeare festival, the spring issue of Folyosó, the graduation events and ceremonies, the arrival of the books (copies of Always Different) and still more… but I need some slow days too, and will have them during our short spring break.

The first two photos are self-explanatory (in the context of this post); the third I took this afternoon in the Keleti train station.

I made some edits to the piece after posting it. As usual, as usual.

Walking Calmly to Class

In my first few years in Hungary, I didn’t have any kind of culture shock. When cultural differences appeared, they didn’t surprise me, and I didn’t have much trouble adjusting to them. I plunged right into life here and just took things as they came. Then, after three years or so, little bits of culture shock started hitting me from different directions.

For instance, it took me a few years to realize that teachers start heading to their classrooms when (or slightly after) the bell rings, not before. In New York City, teachers were expected to be in the classrooms, ready to go, before the ringing of the bell.

This tiny difference of a minute or so reflects much vaster differences of assumptions. In NYC (and in much of the U.S.), teachers are not supposed to leave students unsupervised for one second. Therefore, they are supposed to be in the classroom before the students enter. (Because what if there were an accident in the classroom in the teacher’s absence, and someone sued the school?) Also, getting there first is one of the precepts of “classroom management”: you have everything set up, so that when students walk in the room they immediately have something to do. Not one second is left to chance. In addition, there’s a belief that every second of instruction matters; if you arrive after the bell rings, you are “negatively impacting” the students’ achievement. (On the other hand, it’s common for lessons to be interrupted multiple times by loudspeaker announcements, people popping in, etc.)

In Hungary, or at least at my school, it’s entirely different. Unless the room is locked, students are supposed to enter before the teacher does. Then, when the teacher enters, they stand up; the teacher greets them, and the lesson calmly begins. There’s no “Do Now,” no “lesson aim” written on the board; the teacher typically takes attendance, checks homework, and introduces the lesson of the day. Students are expected to pay attention even without having something to do at every second. (And, by and large, they do.) Here, too, instructional time is taken seriously, but not down to the minute—and there are rarely any interruptions. Loudspeaker announcements are typically made before the first lesson in the morning. Once in a great while an announcement will be made during the day, but not often. And no one pops into the room.

It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? To an extent it is. Not in all ways. But that isn’t my point. My point is that I didn’t even realize this for a few years. I thought I was late to class because I was leaving the teacher’s room at the time of the bell. I would dash up the stairs and down the corridors, slightly panicked about “getting in trouble” (though that, too, is a rarity at my school—teachers don’t get in trouble unless there’s a big problem). Then it dawned on me that other teachers were heading off after the bell too. Not only that, but they weren’t running. Just calmly walking down the hall.

There is something wondrous in going about your day without panic. Panic is ingrained in the school cultures I have known in NYC, even the best ones—the fear of being late, of failing to manage the students, of doing something wrong—that even if you have a supportive principal, you keep receiving reminders from up above that you had better be doing such-and-such. Keeping an eye on the students at all times. Writing the right things on the board. Conducting the lesson in the approved way (with group work, no matter what the lesson content). Keeping the bulletin boards regularly refreshed. Keeping paperwork on every single incident that arises. Documenting, documenting, documenting. Getting everywhere a little bit early (with five-minute breaks between classes, which take place all over the building.) Teachers do learn, over time, how to go about their day without panic, but it isn’t easy, and it takes a while.

Overall, the calm suits me better and allows me to do what I do well. But sometimes I miss the boisterousness that I found in U.S. schools. The intensity, the rush, the urgency. These are not great in themselves, but sometimes they can bring good out of people. There’s a belief, fabricated as it may be, that every second matters and that you have to be on the ball at all times.

Here, teachers’ authority and purpose are expressed differently: through a quiet entry into the room, a respectful greeting, and then the lesson itself. Teachers are not under pressure to be “dynamic.” They often sit down during the lesson (a no-no in U.S. schools, where teachers are expected not only to remain standing, but to circulate continually around the room).

To my surprise, I found myself incorporating group work into many of my lessons here (though not always by any means), whereas I resisted it in the U.S. Why? Because the students already have many lessons where they are expected to listen to the teacher the entire time. They already have a strong foundation of knowledge. For language lessons especially, it’s good for them to practice with each other and to create skits, mock radio broadcasts, etc. The liveliness is good for them too. In the U.S., there was so much emphasis on group work and group talk, and so little on listening and whole-class discussion, that I needed to emphasize the latter.

Those differences I saw early on. But now, almost five years in, I also see that it’s possible to walk calmly to class.

  • “To know that you can do better next time, unrecognizably better, and that there is no next time, and that it is a blessing there is not, there is a thought to be going on with.”

    —Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies

  • Always Different

  • Pilinszky Event (3/20/2022)

  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

     

    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.

  • INTERVIEWS AND TALKS

    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.

  • ABOUT THIS BLOG

    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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