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Flicks getting poetry book sales nice and hot

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Hollywood, which has had trouble selling movie tickets this year, is having no trouble boosting sales in a different, very unlikely area: poetry books.

Sales of two poetry tomes, one by Elizabeth Bishop and another by E.E. Cummings, more than doubled in some stores in the last month after actress Cameron Diaz read works by the two great American poets in the movie "In Her Shoes."

"There is absolutely no doubt that the film is responsible for the increases in sales on titles from Elizabeth Bishop and E.E.Cummings," said Debra Allbery Gildea, poetry buyer at Borders Books, who reports that sales of the books containing the poems are up 100 percent.

At St. Mark's Bookshop, which caters to a higher concentration of poetry fans than Borders, sales of Bishop's "Complete Poems" have seen a dramatic increase as well.

"Around the time of the film's release, we saw our sales figures double for 'Complete Poems,'" said Cary Goldstein, at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Bishop's publisher. "Since the initial spike, sales remain stronger than they were prior to the film's release."

For Hollywood, whose box office sales are down 7.4 percent since 2004, it's not the first time it has goosed the sale of poetry books.

In "Four Weddings and a Funeral," the recitation of W.H. Auden's poem "Funeral Blues" generated increased sales. Sales of Pablo Neruda's "100 Love Sonnets" spiked for quite a few months after one poem was read in "Patch Adams."

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

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