Staying Home Anyway (and This and That)

I had hoped to go hear Dávid Korándi (cappuccino projekt) and then The Roving Chess Club in Budapest tonight, but after an intense week I ended up slightly dizzy—not sick, but just short of robust. Because next week starts out with two important trips to Budapest after school—a Purim celebration at the Ohél Ávrahám synagogue (where I will chant two chapters of the Book of Esther), and an unrelated, eagerly awaited gathering the next day—I need not push it this evening or weekend. I will listen to the cappuccino project album tonight.

It was actually a short week because of a long weekend. On Monday and Tuesday we had no classes, but on Tuesday we teachers took part in activities led by our colleagues. I went first to a poetry workshop, then a drama workshop, both of which I enjoyed. That evening, I attended a gorgeous Platon Karataev duo concert featuring Emőke Dobos’s art for Partért kiáltó (on the screen, moving slowly and rotating). Being able to focus on the rotating images brought the songs to me in a new way, with new textures and associations.

The concert was followed by an interview discussion, which I loved for the way Emőke, Gergő, and Sebő could take any question (posed by Dóri Hegyi) and turn it into something interesting and beautiful.

I got home after midnight, went promptly to sleep, and arrived at school the next day at 7:30, since I was one of three interviewers for the oral entrance exams. We interviewed about 75 students over three days (about 30/30/15); I enjoy doing this but was unsure, from the start, whether a concert on Friday night would be realistic afterwards. It is not, especially since I am not needed or expected there in any way. I like to keep my commitments whenever possible, but this wasn’t a commitment, just something I wanted very much to do.

In addition, I am working on a long poem and an unrelated essay, as well as translations, the Shakespeare festival, and more. It is good to have just a little bit of time for doing close to nothing, letting the thoughts slow down.

Update: The Roving Chess Club will be playing at the Tisza Mozi (in Szolnok) on March 17! I plan to go.

  • “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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