Praise for Wherever I Lie Is Your Bed

November 10, 2009

“The stories and poems within TWO LINES open the reader up to a world that would otherwise be closed entirely, and to connect with that world is truly fortunate.”

Utne Reader

“One of the most impressive annual anthologies of literature-in-translation being published today.”

—Chad Post, publisher, Open Letter Press

Edited by Margaret Jull Costa—translator of Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago—and National Book Award–winning poet Marilyn Hacker, Wherever I Lie Is Your Bed brings together some of the most watched after voices in literary translation. This new book leads with an excerpt from the heavily anticipated new translation of Nobel-winner Gunter Grass’s The Tin Drum, as well as and never-before-translated work from Adonis, work from up-and-coming Cuban author Jose Manuel Prieto, the dual-language Japanese-German novelist Yoko Tawada, and over 20 other writers.


Selected for the IndieBound Indie Next List for December 2009

A City Lights Featured Title

Krista Ingebretson, Open Letters Monthly:

There’s a great deal that’s invaluable in this collection, and reading it gives an acute appreciation for a number of the problems that translators must wrestle with.

Andrew Wessels, A Compulsive Reader:

I was also delighted to find a large selection of poetry, which I found to actually be the strongest part of the anthology. I was particularly happy seeing the amount of poetry that was translated from less-common languages. . . . Reading the anthology becomes an act of continuous discovery, a constant reminder as to how much interesting literature is being written around the world, how much we are missing. . . . I find myself continuing to pick up the anthology and flip through it, reread many sections. The combination of otherness and not-otherness that I find in much translated literature is so compelling, and many of the selections in Wherever I Lie Is Your Bed has been the best resource I’ve found lately.

Jeff Waxman, Seminary Co-op Bookstore:

It has been said, only half in jest, that so few books are published each year in English translation that one might read all of them. In Wherever I Lie Is Your Bed, two extraordinary translators—Margaret Jull Costa and Marilyn Hacker—collect work by some of the best of their colleagues and introduce English-language readers to at least a few of the finest international voices of the last century. This is a book of mirrors and windows, an extraordinary glimpse into the way fiction and poetry reflect and reframe our understanding of people and cultures a world away. Few opportunities exist to read so widely and under such knowledgeable and ecstatic direction.

Levi Asher, LitKicks:

Even if you are a monolinguist like me, you can gaze at the mysterious foreign characters that accompany each translated work and appreciate the depth of cultural difference represented here. This volume includes the charming first chapter of Gunter Grass's The Tin Drum in Breon Mitchell's much-publicized new translation, Kurdish poet Sherko Bekos's riveting Butterfly Valley, Andrej Glusgold's sarcastic I Love Berlin, Basque poet Kirmen Uribe's The Words That Died in the War, Tarek Eltayeb's Cities Without Palms and Mahmoud Darwish's Rita's Winter. The variety may make you dizzy with literary possibility, and I think that might be this book's goal.

Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Bookstore:

"On rare occasions a book can have an impact on a reader that is visceral. This was the case with Wherever I Lie Is Your Bed. It begins with the visual impact of this beautiful anthology of world literature in translation. Then there is the title. So seductive. It certainly is the beauty of the languages. Oddly, the power of the words is almost more palpable in seeing the literature that is incomprehensible side by side with the English translations. The Arabic poetry is particularly compelling to me, but every translation in this volume is a gem, every piece its own little bit of light on a culture and a language. The best part of Wherever I Lie Is Your Bed, though, is that it is not rarefied or academic or overwhelming. It's an international tasting menu. Sweet, savory, with a bit of meat and delightful to the senses."

Kim Allen-Niesen, The Bookshop Blog:

The perfect introduction to translated literature from around the world. . . . The works are stellar; one after another capturing a haunting moment, the beauty of a life, the isolation of a life alone, with an immediacy that some people believe cannot be translated from one language to another. When I read a translated book, I often feel like the translator is a person in the corner watching me, knowing but silent. I poured over the translators introductions to each entry finally feeling like an essential person in my experience was finally given voice.

Kim Allen-Niesen, Bookstore People:

When I read a translated book, I often feel like the translator is a person in the corner watching me, knowing but silent. I poured over the translators introductions to each entry finally feeling like an essential person in my experience was finally given voice. As a result, I’m excited to ask one of the translators from Wherever I Lie Is Your Bed, Alison Anderson, a few questions.

Alison translated one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I have read in a long time, “The Lady in White” by Christian Bobin. Whenever anyone mentions lyrical writing again, I’ll think of this piece. I loved the writing so much, I bought the only other book by Bobin that I could find in English, The Very Lowly: A Meditation on Francis of Assisi.

The Millions:

Today sees the arrival of a unique title from the Center for the Art of Translation. Wherever I Lie Is Your Bed provides translated poetry and fiction from 30 writers and is meant to introduce English-speaking readers to writers whose work would otherwise be difficult or impossible to find in English.

Chad Post, Three Percent:

Definitely worth checking out.

About the Editors

Margaret Jull Costa has translated some of the most important voices in Spanish and Portuguese literature. She received the 2008 PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize for her translation of Jose Maria de Eca de Queiroz’s novel The Maias, commonly considered the most important work in Portuguese literature. She has also translated works by the Spanish novelist Javier Marias, Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago, and Fernando Pessoa, among many others. Marilyn Hacker received the National Book Award for her collection of poetry Presentation Piece. She has also been honored with an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is considered one of America’s major living poets.

About the Publisher

The Center for the Art of Translation is a not-for-profit organization committed to giving voice to world authors not often published in English-speaking countries. Our books feature work by today’s leading translators and are widely looked to by experts in the field. Through literary and education programs that support translation, the Center promotes world literature and offers insight into the cultures that produce it. The Center’s publishing program includes the TWO LINES World Writing in Translation series, now in its 16th year, and the recently launched TWO LINES World Library, which overviews a single language by bringing together both its distinguished and emerging writers.

Ordering Information

Wherever I Lie is Your Bed can be ordered from the Center for the Art of Translation. It is also available from the Center’s distributor, University of Washington Press, as well as from Baker&Taylor,,, and independent bookstores nationwide.

TWO LINES World Writing in Translation XVI
Edited by Margaret Jull Costa and Marilyn Hacker
November 10, 2009
312 pp., 8.5 x 5.5 in.
$14.95 paper, ISBN 978-1-931883-16-0

Distributed by the University of Washington Press