Getting to Know Hilary Kaplan

Ms. Kaplan joins Bishop’s English department. She is a teacher, translator and editor. In 2016, she won the National Translation Award and Best Translated Book Award in poetry for her translation of “Rilke Shake” by Angélica Freitas, and was a finalist for the 2016 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. A native of Los Angeles, Hilary earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Yale and a M.A. from Brown in Comparative Literature.
Q: Where did you begin your teaching career?
A: East Rock Global Studies Magnet in New Haven, Conn.
Q: Where are you joining us from?
A: Bard College Language and Thinking Program
Q: Do you have a particular hobby, passion, or interest?
A: I translate from Portuguese (with a focus on Brazil) and I'm especially interested in poetry and poetic prose. My books are “Rilke Shake” by Angélica Freitas, “The Territory Is Not the Map” by Marília Garcia, and a collection of short stories called “Ghosts,” by Paloma Vidal.
Q: What was your first impression of the Bishop’s Community?
A: I was impressed by the ease of conversation with everyone I first met, even over Zoom. Everyone has been warm and welcoming, and there is a strong sense of belonging to the community.
Q: What do you love most about teaching?
A: My favorite thing about teaching is seeing students make connections with a text, with a peer's idea, or within themselves. I enjoy facilitating this kind of learning. I also love when students write something they're proud of, whether because it's beautiful, it's creative, it sounds good, or it articulates a significant thought.
Q: What is your greatest accomplishment?
A: Raising my son.
Q: Who is your hero/mentor?
A: Lewis MacAdams, of blessed memory, poet and founder of Friends of the Los Angeles River, was an early mentor of mine. A man of letters with the vision to revitalize a maligned and misaligned urban river, he worked at the nexus of language, action, and environmental justice. I'm grateful for his guidance and inspiration.
Q: What’s on your bucket list?
A: Hot air ballooning
Q: If you could travel in time, what time period would you visit and why?
A: Elizabethan England or colonial America to satisfy my childhood fascinations with these times and places.
Q: If you had to sing karaoke, which song would you choose?
A: The "Car 54, Where Are You?" theme song, in honor of my Bishop's parking number.
Q: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
A: The dog's hair everywhere.
Q: What’s the last book you read?
A: “Câmera lenta” by Marília Garcia
Q: Who was your favorite teacher in school and why?
A: King Schofield, who coached my high school speech team, created a space of openness and encouragement to write for an audience, use my voice, and practice communicating in a variety of ways. He was also the only person I knew who played beach volleyball.
Q: If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
A: Beach volleyball
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The Bishop’s School is an independent, coeducational college-preparatory day school for students in grades six through twelve who live throughout San Diego County. Founded in 1909, the School is affiliated with the Episcopal church.