Events, News, and Press


Breaking News

My story "Volta" was published in Issue 56 (December 2023) of the wonderful Lowestoft Chronicle. The magazine also included this story in its Best American 2024 nominations!

I am serving as the president of the ALSCW from October 15, 2023, to October 20, 2024. In this role I am planning the 2024 conference (along with others) and more. It is a great honor to be entrusted with this responsibility. The 2024 conference will be in DC, and planning is underway!

My translations of Tomas Venclova's "Notes on Xenophon" and "From the Future" are published in AGNI 98 (Autumn 2023), print only; my translations of his "August Elegy" and "Eos" were published in the Translation Tuesday series of Asymptote's blog on November 28, 2023.

My translation of Csenger Kertai's story "A virágöntöző, aki nem hitte el, hogy szépek a virágai" ("The Flower-Waterer Who Didn't Believe His Flowers Were Beautiful") was published in Issue 16.1 (Autumn 2023) of Literary Matters.

It was a joy and honor to translate the script/subtitles for Nyílnak befelé ablakok, a documentary about the Hungarian band Platon Karataev, directed by Zsófi Szász and released by 444. (The subtitles appear on YouTube).

Recent News

My essay on Cz.K. Sebő's song "Felzizeg" was published in Issue 15.3 of Literary Matters.

Two of my translations of fiction were published in April 2023: Sándor Jászberényi, "A Western Tale," BODY, Spring 2023; and Ahmed Amran, "Earth Mounds," Asymptote Journal blog (Translation Tuesdays series), April 4, 2023.

The 2023 Shakespeare Festival in Szolnok (a joint project of the Varga Katalin Gimnázium and the Verseghy Library) was a great success; you can read about it here and here in English and here in Hungarian.

My essay on Sándor Weöres's poem "Szembe-fordított tükrök" was published in March 2023 in an anthology of poems and essays that reflect on Weöres's poems. Many thanks to the Maradok duo for hosting this contest and including my essay in the book!

On February 23, 2023, my translations of Csenger Kertai's poems "Maypole" and "For My Good" appeared in the online version of The Continental Literary Magazine!

In October 2022, I visited the U.S. with a group of Hungarians, six of whom (Gergely Balla, Sebestyén Czakó-Kuraly, Csenger Kertai, Kata Heller, Fruzsina Balogh, and Panna Kocsis) presented—along with twelve other panelists—in my double-session seminar on "Setting Poetry to Music" at the ALSCW Conference at Yale. For details, go here.

Gyula Jenei's Always Different: Poems of Memory, which I translated from the Hungarian, received a wonderful review from Christie Goodwin in Hungarian Literature Online.

My translation of Gyula Jenei's poem "Scissors" ("Olló" in Hungarian) was awarded an Honorable Mention for the 11th Jules Chametzky Translation Prize!

My essay "To Crave the Edges of Speech: Reflections on Cz.K. Sebő's New Album"" was published on April 15, 2022, in the online version of The Continental Literary Magazine.

A book of my translations of Gyula Jenei's poems, Always Different: Poems of Memory, was published by Deep Vellum on April 12, 2022.

On March 20, 2022, at 3 p.m. EDT (8 p.m. Hungary time), I hosted an ALSCW Zoom event: Straight Labyrinth: János Pilinszky in the Poetry, Music, and Thought of Three Hungarian Artists, featuring the poet Csenger Kertai and the musicians/songwriters Gergely Balla (Platon Karataev) and Sebestyén Czakó-Kuraly (Platon Karataev, Cz.K. Sebő). For details and a video, see the event page and informational website!

Ten of my translations of Csenger Kertai's poems have been published so far: "Redemption" and "I" in the January 2022 issue of Asymptote; "Lake Balaton" and "On Forsakenness" in the March 2022 issue of Literary Imagination; "Constant Slashing" and "Mercy" in the Winter 2022 issue of Literary Matters, "With Greatest Ease" and "Moon" in the Spring 2022 issue of Modern Poetry in Translation, and "Maypole" and "For My Good" in February 2023 in the online version of The Continental Literary Magazine!

Not-So-Recent News

My essay "Breaking Glass: Curriculum 'Diversity' and Its Discontents" was published in The Nation on October 13, 2021.

I was a panelist in the online ALSCW event "General Education and the Idea of a Common Culture" on Friday, October 15, 2021.

I was a guest speaker in The MacMillan Institute's online poetry series on Tuesday, October 26, 2021.

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, I 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!

On Monday, April 27, 2020, for a New Books Network podcast, Marci Mazzarotto interviewed Diana Senechal about Mind over Memes. Listen to the podcast!

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.

My translations of five poems by Gyula Jenei and an essay by Marianna Fekete (about the haiku poetry of Béla Markó) have been published in Issues 11:3 and 12:1 of Literary Matters!

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 was a guest on Leonard Lopate at Large" (WBAI). You can listen to the podcast.

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.

Dana Mackenzie, co-author of The Book of Why, wrote the first Amazon review of the book.

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.

You can now read two interviews about Mind over Memes: one by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture and the other by Book Culture.

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!.

My essay "This Is a Resolution? A Letter on Bellow's Seize the Day" has been published in Literary Imagination, vol. 19, no. 3 (November 2017) and can now be viewed online.

Read three of my poems from October 2017: Tuesday Evening in Fort Tryon Park," "The Rays of Royal Hope" (A Sonnet in Three Acts), and Goodbye to a Guitar" (Villanelle).

In September 2017, I had the joy of attending three Budapest Festival Orchestra concerts: a church concert in Szeged and two synagogue concerts in Albertirsa and Baja. I look forward to many more.

My review of the Budapest Festival Orchestra's performance of Don Giovanni is posted in Hungarian translation on the BFO website!

I am honored to have been elected to the ALSCW Council for a second three-year term. (The ALSCW is the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers.)

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.

Marise McConaghy, deputy principal of Brisbane Girls Grammar School in Australia, drew on my blog post "The Need for Eccentricity in Education" in an inspiring commentary on the school.

Reviews of Republic of Noise

Stella Schindler, "Attentive to What Lies Within," Humanum 2015:2.

William K. Lawrence, book review, Goodreads, July 8, 2013.

Rosanna Warren, book review, Literary Matters (ALSCW), Spring 2013.

Karen Virag, "In Praise of Solitude" (book review), ATA Magazine (Alberta Teachers' Association), vol. 93, no. 1 (Fall 2012).

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.

J. A. Helfer, book review and "Essential" rating, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries (American Library Association), June 2012 (subscription required).

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

My translation of Gyula Jenei's poem "Scissors" ("Olló" in Hungarian) was awarded an Honorable Mention for the 11th Jules Chametzky Translation Prize!

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.

Republic of Noise was named an Outstanding Academic Title of 2012 by Choice (American Library Association).

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.

About the author
Mind over Memes
Republic of Noise