Jennifer Michael Hecht
|Born||November 23, 1965|
Jennifer Michael Hecht (born November 23, 1965) is a poet, historian, philosopher, and author.
Hecht's scholarly articles have been published in many journals and magazines, and her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, and Poetry Magazine, among others. She has also written book reviews for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The American Scholar and other publications. She has written several columns for The New York Times online "Times Select."
Hecht is a weekly guest blogger for The Best American Poetry series web site and maintains a personal blog on poetry and philosophy entitled "Dear Fonzie". She currently teaches at The New School in New York City, and resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Born in Glen Cove, New York on Long Island, Hecht attended Adelphi University. She earned her PhD in the History of Science from Columbia University in 1995 and for a time studied at the Université de Caen, and the Université d’Angers. She currently teaches poetry and philosophy in the Graduate Writing Program of The New School, teaches poetry in the Graduate Writing Program of Columbia University, and is a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities. Hecht is an honorary board member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation where she told the FFRF 2009 convention audience: “If there is no god — and there isn't — then we [humans] made up morality. And I'm very impressed.”
In 2002 her debut poetry collection The Next Ancient World received the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America, as well as ForeWord Magazine's award for Poetry Book of the Year. Her second collection, Funny, won the 2005 Felix Pollak Prize from the University of Wisconsin Press. Her most recent collection, Who Said (Copper Canyon Press, 2013), playfully asks the title question of some of the most iconic English language poems.
In 2003 Hecht published two books of history and philosophy with two different publishers. The first, Doubt: A History, is an epic, worldwide study of religious doubt throughout history. The other, The End of the Soul, is a profile of an unusual group of nineteenth-century French anthropologists who formed the Society of Mutual Autopsy to discover links between personality, ability and brain morphology. It received the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award for 2004 from the Phi Beta Kappa Society as a book that "is an important contribution to knowledge, serious scholarship with a broad pertinence to the human condition."
In 2007 Hecht published The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think Is Right Is Wrong in which she attempts to examine happiness through historical perspective. Hecht maintains that our current perception of happiness is affected by culture, and that future generations may well mock our view of happiness as we make fun of earlier generations.
History and philosophy
- 2003 The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology in France, 1876-1936 — ISBN 0-231-12846-0
- 2003 Doubt: A History — ISBN 0-06-009795-7
- 2007 The Happiness Myth — ISBN 0-06-081397-0
- 2001 The Next Ancient World — ISBN 0-9710310-0-2
- 2005 Funny — ISBN 0-299-21400-1
- 2013 Who Said (Copper Canyon Press) - ISBN 978-1-55659-449-6
The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, The Journal of the History of Ideas, Isis: Journal of the History of Science Society, French Historical Studies, and others.
- Best American Poetry 2005, Paul Muldoon and David Lehman, eds. (Scribner's, 2005).
- Good Poems for Hard Times, Garrison Keillor, ed. (Viking/Penguin, 2005).
- Poetry Daily, Boller, Selby, and Yost, eds. (Sourcebooks, 2003).
- Good Poems, Garrison Keillor, ed. (Viking/Penguin, 2002).
- Poems to Live by in Uncertain Times, Joan Murray, ed. (Beacon, 2001).
- The Best American Poetry 1999, Robert Bly and David Lehman, eds. (Scribner's, 1999).
The New Yorker, The New Republic, The New York Times, Poetry Magazine, Partisan Review, Ms. Magazine, Antioch Review, Barrow Street, Gettysburg Review, Southern Review, Salmagundi, Quarterly West, Missouri Review, Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, River City, and other journals.
- "Dúvida: uma História" (Ediouro, 2005)
- "O Mito de Felicidade" (Larousse, 2011)
- "Dubbio: una storia" (Ariele, 2010)
- "의심의 역사" (Imago, 2011)
- Jennifer Michael Hecht official website
- Interview with Jennifer Michael Hecht (May 2007) on Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett
- Video lecture by Jennifer Michael Hecht on the history of religious and philosophical doubt.