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Obama inaugural poem not as popular as the president

February 21, 2009|Associated Press

Millions watched Elizabeth Alexander read a poem last month at President Obama's inauguration. But few, so far, have chosen to buy it.

Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 75% of sales, says Alexander's "Praise Song for the Day: A Poem for Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration" has sold just 6,000 copies so far.

The poem was published Feb. 6 as a paperback by Graywolf Press with an announced first printing of 100,000 copies. The inaugural reading by Alexander, a highly regarded poet, apparently lacked the appeal of predecessor Maya Angelou, whose "On the Pulse of the Morning" -- read at Bill Clinton's 1993 inaugural -- became a million-seller.

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