Events, News, and Press
My translation of Zsolt Bajnai's story "The Vanished City Hall" ("Az eltűnt városháza") was published on the Asymptote Blog, in its Translation Tuesday feature, on April 6, 2021.
On Sunday, March 21, at 3 p.m. EDT (8 p.m. in Hungary), at a Zoom event hosted by the ALSCW, Diana Senechal interviewed the fiction writer, journalist, and blogger Zsolt Bajnai and his son, the musician, songwriter, and university student Marcell Bajnai. After the interview, Zsolt Bajnai read several of his stories, and Marcell Bajnai played his songs between them. You can find the details here. Thanks to everyone who came!
A book of my translations of Gyula Jenei's poems, Always Different: Poems of Memory, will be published by Deep Vellum in February 2022.
Recent (and Not-So-Recent) News
On Friday, September 27, 2019, I had the honor of being interviewed by the journalist and author Zsolt Bajnai for his wonderful blogSzolnok , which I read daily. This was my first interview in Hungarian.
In October 2019. I travelled with my colleagues Gyula Jenei and Marianna Fekete from Szolnok to Dallas, where we held readings and discussions at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture's Education Forum! These events were presented by the Dallas Institute's Louise and Donald Cowan Center for Education™. See the details here.
On July 25 and 26, 2019, I had the joy of performing "Maradok ember" (lyrics by Marcell Bajnai, music by 1LIFE) on cello, at the Dallas Institute's Summer Institute (the first time during my faculty remarks, the second time in the closing ceremony). Thanks to the audience for singing along beautifully in the chorus, and thanks to the Dallas Institute for making such things possible! You can see and here a short excerpt here.
On June 14, 2019, fourteen of my tenth-grade students gave a terrific performance of several Hamlet scenes at the Verseghy Ferenc Könyvtár in Szolnok. Here is a video.
On May 25, 2019, seventeen of my ninth-grade students performed Rhinoceros and Rhinocerosn't (Act 1, Scene 1 of Ionesco's Rhinoceros and an unrelated scene of their own creation) at the National English Language Drama Festival in Veszprém. Here is a video.
On April 29, 2019, two colleagues, two language classes (Russian and French), and I put on a short concert during the fifteen-minute morning break. You can read about the concert here and watch a video of the highlights.
On Friday, February 22, 2019, I flew in from Hungary to give a reading at Book Culture in New York City. We had a lively discussion. Thanks to everyone who came!
On Thursday, February 14, 2019, I had two book discussions in Szolnok: first at the Széchenyi István Gimnázium, and later at the Verseghy Ferenc Könyvtár. Marianna Fekete was the beszélgetőtárs (discussion partner). Thanks to everyone who came and everyone who made this possible. You can see the poster here and a photo here. (Thanks to my colleague Fekete Józsefné for the photo.)
In a Library Journal review (Xpress Reviews, January 4, 2019), E. James Lieberman calls Mind over Memes "an alluring choice for readers with an academic bent."
My most recent essay, "Choosing a College: The Virtues of a Good Misfit," was published in Inside Higher Ed on December 3, 2018.
One of my recent essays, "Reclaiming Liberty," was published in the New England Journal of Higher Education on November 26, 2018.
Mind over Memes was mentioned by NUVO magazine in the November 18 edition of its weekly series Conversation Piece.
Publishers Weekly reviewed Mind over Memes, concluding that it is "of interest to anyone who wishes to deconstruct the truisms that infect so much public discourse."
Ephrat Livni reviewed Mind over Memes—particularly the chapter on creativity—for Quartz. You can read the review here.
In Szolnok, Hungary, you can now purchase the book at the Szkítia–Avantgard könyvesbolt és antikvárium.
My new book, Mind over Memes: Passive Listening, Toxic Talk, and Other Modern Language Follies, is now available! The wonderful bookstore Book Culture (536 W. 112th St., NYC) will be carrying the book; I will give a reading there on February 22. (Details to come.)
On Tuesday, October 30, 2018, the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture hosted the first event for Mind over Memes; I read from the book, engaged in dialogue with Dr. Larry Allums, and answered questions from the audience. Thanks to everyone who came and to everyone who made this event possible! You can read a Q&A here; a video will be available soon.
On Sunday, November 18, 2018, Massolit Books & Cafe in Budapest hosted my first Hungarian book event! I read passages from Mind over Memes, and then we had a lively discussion about language and languages.
On December 2, 2017, I began serving in a cantorial role at Szim Salom in Budapest. This is a great honor and responsibility; I look forward to fulfilling and growing within it over time.
I now live in Szolnok, Hungary. As of November 6, 2017, I will be teaching at the Varga Katalin Gimnázium!.
In May 2017, I spent two rich weeks in a residency at the Sainte Pulchérie Fransız Lisesi in Istanbul. I taught philosophy classes with Dr. Nimet Küçük, whose students have participated in the CONTRARIWISE international contests for three consecutive years. In addition, thanks to Dr. Küçük's planning, I attended two plays and a concert and visited many places in the city. On my own, I walked around and listened to musicians on Istiklal Avenue. Here is an article about my visit.
The video of my TEDx Talk (TEDx Upper West Side, April 26, 2016) is now up on YouTube. I criticize our cultural emphasis on takeaways, "the pocketable answer, the successful transaction, the surety squeezed from things unsure." With examples ranging from algebra to Hamlet to theatre reviews, I argue for uncertainty and questioning.
On September 25–26, 2015, I spoke at the 2015 Education Forum of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, along with Louise Cowan, Andrew Delbanco, Diane Ravitch, Bill Deresiewicz, Elizabeth Samet, Matthew Crawford, Dan Russ, and Ben Olguín. Here is a video.
Read Stella Schindler's wonderful review of Republic of Noise (Humanum 2015:2).
CONTRARIWISE, my students' philosophy journal, is featured in my article "You Are Embarked: How a Philosophy Curriculum Took Shape and Took Off" (American Educator, Spring 2015).
See Anna Citrino's commentary—with quotes from Republic of Noise— on the importance of solitude and the relation of solitude to song.
On September 30, the UAE talk station Dubai Eye 103.8 reviewed Republic of Noise. (The discussion occurs at 1:20 and 29:40 in the podcast.)
On May 18, 2014, my students celebrated the release of their philosophy journal, CONTRARIWISE, at Word Up Community Bookshop in Washington Heights. The event featured readings, empirical Shakespearean experiments, philosophical improv, philosophical questions, surprise awards (including a Gogol Award, an H. G. Wells Award, and a Godot Award), a song, a cake, and more. See the descriptions on Chalkbeat and on Joanne Jacobs's blog.
In April 2014, I took part in a discussion of solitude on the BBC World Service's flagship discussion programme The Forum, along with award-winning authors Eleanor Catton and Yiyun Li and host Bridget Kendall. There is a podcast. (See also the Kate Chisholm's commentary in The Spectator.)
At TVS School in Mysore, India, students learn about the strengths of solitude.
Reviews of Republic of Noise
Stella Schindler, "Attentive to What Lies Within," Humanum 2015:2.
William K. Lawrence, book review, Goodreads, July 8, 2013.
Ken C., "Let Us Now Praise (and Empower) Quieter Students: Part Two," RAMS English (blog), July 16, 2012.
Laura Leaney, book review, Goodreads, July 12, 2012.
Ryan Kinser, "Yes, I Snatched a Teacher's Trash," TransformED (Center for Teaching Quality), June 15, 2012.
Dexter Palmer, "I Can't Hear Myself Think" (book review), Truthdig, May 25, 2012.
A. Graham Down, "Schools vs. Noise" (book review), Education Next, March 14, 2012.
Brian Rhode, lecture review of Republic of Noise, William K. Sanford Town Library, Loudonville, NY, February 22, 2012.
Carol Hoenig, "In Praise of Solitude," Huffington Post, January 12, 2012.
Awards and Honors
On September 1, 2021, I was presented with two teaching awards at the Varga Katalin Gimnásium: the pedagogical Memorial Plaque (emlékplakett), awarded annually by the faculty, and the Teacher Oscar - Language Category, awarded annually by the students.
In 2011 I was awarded Hiett Prize in the Humanities, an annual prize given by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.
My article "Why Do We Need a Philosophy of Education? The Forgotten Insights of Michael John Demiashkevich" was selected as the Article of the Year for Volume 37 of the American Educational History Journal.
Reviews of poetry translations
Cynthia Haven, "Why Reality Holds Little Love for Poets," The Book Haven: Cynthia Haven's Blog for the Written Word (Stanford University), September 2, 2012.
Kerry Shawn Keys, "Letter from Vilnius," Poetry International, March 3, 2012.
John Taylor, "Poetry Today: Tomas Venclova," Antioch Review, Summer 2010 (brief review of The Junction by Tomas Venclova, with commentary on the translations, including Senechal's).
Sam Leith, "House of Flames," Poetry Review 99, no. 2, Summer 2009 (review of The Junction by Tomas Venclova, with commentary on the translations, including Senechal's).
Michael Scammell, "Loyal Toward Reality," New York Review of Books, September 24, 1998 (review of Winter Dialogue by Tomas Venclova, with commentary on Senechal's translations).
Sven Birkerts, "Winter Dialogue by Tomas Venclova," Harvard Review 14 (Spring 1998). Via JSTOR.