Hi, my name is Priscilla Hunter (b. Bogalusa, Louisiana). I'm a creative writer, literary critic, literary translator (Spanish, English), and literary translation workshop leader living and working on the West Coast of the U.S. My creative literary specialties are poetry and literary translation (fiction, plays, essay, poetry); and my critical, translation, and research specialty is 20th and 21st century Latin American literature.
Writing and translation are the main focus of my work life. At the moment I am simultaneously compiling a set of my poems for self-publication and initiating a new translation project. From time to time I design and lead freelance literary translation workshops. I'm an active member and participant in the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) and am tapped as needed as an Expert Reader for Spanish submissions to the national Translation Awards. I'm also a member of the Authors Guild and a contributing member of ALTA, and, occasionally, a contributing member of the American Translators Association (ATA) and the Modern Language Association (MLA).
I live and write and I manage a small vacation house, in southwest Oregon, where I raised my three daughters and pursued a career as a professor of Spanish Southern Oregon University (1981-2010) and am now an Emerita Professor of Spanish there.
I grew up in Louisiana and earned a B.S. and a concomitant teaching certificate in Spanish and French, and then an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Spanish at Louisiana State University, and simultaneously completed graduate coursework in French , but did not pursue a second master's degree in it. I also earned credits in Latin American literature in the summer program of the (former) Universidad de San Carlos in Guatemala, thanks to a graduate travel scholarship, and, later, enough post-doctoral credits in literature and linguistics at New York University to earn a second M.A. there, but did not apply to receive the title.
In addition to a career of working and living alongside different Hispanic groups and individuals in the U.S. (Louisiana, Oregon) and to the brief periods that I have spent studying and working in parts of Mexico, Honduras, and Ecuador, I have several years of cumulative experience living, doing research and working in Chile, Peru, Guatemala, and Spain, including my longest residences, first, in the company of my three young daughters, in Nicaragua, principally in Managua, where I studied the poetry and other writings of Ernesto Cardenal, tried my hand at homeschooling, and taught a graduate course on Latin American literature and imperialist reception and reaction to it at the University of Central America (UCA); and second, in Argentina, principally in Buenos Aires, where I investigated different aspects of the film library of novelist Manuel Puig alongside a team of researchers from the University of La Plata led by Professor José Amícola.
I have studied the art of writing poetry with Judith Barrington, Naomi Shihab Nye, Julia Connor, William O’Daly, Lawson Inada, Yusef Komunyakaa, and too many other highly regarded poets to mention them all here. This learning focused for me at The Flight of the Mind Women Writers Workshops, the Ashland Writers Conference, Southern Oregon University (SOU), and the Surprise Valley Writers Conference. I have additional graduate coursework in literary translation at NYU, as well as literary translation workshops with William O'Daly and Willis Barnstone (Surprise Valley Writers Conference) and also earned a certificate in applied literary translation with Dalkey Archives Press and the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana.
Publications and Public Presentations
Among the approximately 40 invited public presentations of my essays on Spanish-language literature and translation at academic and professional conferences located in the U.S. and abroad, are a keynote address on contemporary Chilean literature delivered to the Organization of (South) Korean Teachers of Spanish (Seoul) and a public lecture on postmodernism in the novels of Manuel Puig (General Villegas, Argentina). In the year following an intensive educational trip to Guatemala and Nicaragua in January of 1987, I was interviewed by radio, television, and press organizations, both in Oregon and in Nicaragua and was frequently invited to address issues of Central America at meetings of civic, religious, and educational organizations in both Oregon and Nicaragua, spoke on these topics before collectively more than 2000 people.
In 2003, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival commissioned me to translate and deliver in Spanish with another reader in a simultaneous audio-cast that year's production of Romeo and Juliet, as part of the festival's first direct outreach to honor the local Hispanic population. Several times I have been a featured poet or read Spanish-language poems alongside my translation as part of a writers’ series or other literary events held locally (Bloomsbury Bookstore, Southern Oregon Friends of William Stafford, and others) and in Baton Rouge (New Playwrights Theater), and regularly at the ALTA annual conference.
My publications include my translations of pop-culture stories (Torpedo 1996) as well as of canonical Spanish-language poetry by Vicente Aleixandre (West Wind Review) and Federico García Lorca (Source). My extensive pro bono translation work includes articles, contracts, and bylaws of both an academic and a commercial nature (including for a literary publisher). My translation of poems by Lorca have been performed not only in stand-alone readings but also in concerts and, subsequently, in a commercial recording. I have also been commissioned to translate album liner notes and composer biographies for commercial recordings and radio programs. My own poems have been published in small poetry magazines (West Wind Review, Delta, Hesperides) and in anthologies (Poems from the Last Frontier and others), as have my book reviews (including in Translation Review) and essays of literary and film criticism in various books, journals, and academic proceedings. My essays of literary criticism include "Red Ana and Driving Blind," a substantial article published in 2014 in Eliseo Subiela, The Poet of Latin American Cinema (Mellen), edited by Nancy J. Membrez, who also asked me to translate into Spanish two articles for the book. That same year I completed a Certificate of Applied Literary Translation with Dalkey Archives Press and the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana. Abrupt Mutations (Dalkey 2018), her translation of a metafictional novel by Enrique Luis Revol, a 20th-century Argentine polymath, critic, and translator well-known in Latin America, is her first book-length publication.
Along with my official duties of teaching, scholarly research, academic writing, and ambassadorial outreach to and representation and participation with local Hispanic groups and individuals working in support of the local Hispanic population, my contributions to creative and academic endeavors and to the my local communities include more than two years of pro bono work as the official interpreter at all media and public events (including a monthly television talk show) of the Hispanic Clearing House at Southern Oregon University. I was, moreover, often called on to interpret at bi-lingual public events sponsored by the university and other community organizations, including local churches and Peace House.
Awards and Recognition
In my more than 30 years of training, university leadership, and academic career experience, I had the honor and acknowledgement of receiving teaching, administrative, and study awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Kellogg Foundation, the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages, the Melon Foundation and Stanford University, the Ministry of Culture of Spain and Clark University, and others.
I think (tongue pressing a little into cheek) that it's only fair to acknowledge, for any reader having trekked this far, that my actual creative and translatory honors seem to have peaked in my high school years in our Washington Parish paper mill town, when I won the school's first place medal in the senior essay competition, due in large part (I was told by a teacher) to an unexpectedly poetic first sentence that I later saw driven by a dynamic, beautiful, cosmic metaphor at the heart of it, the words of it lamentedly now lost to history and as obscure as the winning essay’s also forgotten title and content. Earlier, in the spring of my junior year, at the end of two years of Spanish, I had oddly twinned experiences of winning a "prize." The first was a third place medal at the state's competitive high school Spanish exam, in competition with a roomful of contenders that included at least one native Spanish speaker on one side of me and a fluent, bi-lingual resident of a South American country on the other (the first and second place winners, probably not, we all sitting so close to each other, but who knows?). The second was being called on to "accompany" and "translate as needed" for two Spanish-speaking visitors, who spoke perfect English, as it turned out, and were in town for a meeting in a stand of young softwood pines with an expert of the paper mill's current reforestation program. At the end of the meeting, one bemused visitor asked me a question that turned out to be suddenly in Spanish, the first of that language I'd ever heard roll off the lips of a native speaker, in fact, we didn't deal much with direct questions or conversation in Spanish classes in those days). But after missing what were coming in focus as possible questions, the visitor landed on one and I caught a few words and an opportunity and earnestly uttered a single word in Spanish that day: "pino," The real prize was coming face to face with my first experience of real-life globalism and the realities of translation.) But in my senior year again, after one year of Latin, I was recognized by the national association of teachers of Latin for having been the first (and, so far at the time anyway, the only) person in the history of the national Latin exam to have earned a perfect score of 100%. Miss Lucille Sutton, who taught two years each of Spanish and Latin (our school's only second language offerings), was my first brilliant foreign language teacher.