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Inaugural poet bolsters small publisher

A small St.Paul, Minnesota-based publisher is hoping to reap big rewards in the wake of Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony yesterday. Graywolf Press is the publisher of poet Elizabeth Alexander, who wrote and recited the inauguration poem, “Praise Song for the Day,” and the company has reportedly been receiving urgent calls from Barnes & Noble to ship copies of the work as quickly as possible.

According to the Canadian Press:

The St. Paul-based publisher is printing 100,000 copies of Alexander’s inaugural poem, by far the biggest print run in its 35-year history but not for an inaugural work. Maya Angelou’s “On the Pulse of the Morning,” recited in 1993 at President Bill Clinton’s inaugural, was a million seller.

Alexander’s poem, titled “Praise Song for the Day: A Poem for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration,” consists of 14, unrhymed three-line stanzas, and a one-line coda: “praise song for walking forward in that light.” It will be released as an US$8 paperback, 32 pages, on Feb. 6.