TikTok Helps Poetry Book Sell/Emily Dickinson Talk – Poetry News Roundup March 2nd

Today in our round up of poetry related news events we look at the TikTok dream that boosted sales of an obscure poetry book and the Emily Dickinson talk that is the next UMF New Commons Project event.

Sales of Obscure Poetry Collection Soar Following TikToker’s dream

The publishers of Russel Thornton’s poetry collection “The Fifth Window” have had to order it to be reprinted after the book shot to fame.

The unusual event took place following a video that was posted on TikTok by TikTok user Ohmarni (real name Marni Webb). The TikTok was titled “rare book that I dreamt about”. Webb says that in the dream, she was asked by someone if the fifth window was open. Turning to Google to see what it might mean, she came across the book with the same title written by the Canadian poet. The book was published back in 2000 but is a little obscure and is really only available via university libraries on request.

The video has now received over 3 million views.

Thornton was unaware of his sudden rise to fame until a fellow Canadian poet emailed him and told him all about it. He asked his daughter to help him look on TikTok. Having found the video, Thornton sent the TikToker one of the two copies of his book that he had, and she posted another video in which she claimed that 10 years ago she had a dream about two of the poems that were in the book.

That was enough to convince her TikTok followers, and the publishers were inundated with so many orders for the book that they have had to order a reprint. And those orders have not just come in from Canadians but also from 33 states in the US, Australia, Norway, Bermuda and even Bulgaria – quite an accomplishment for a small publishing house. The poems in the books are mostly inspired by the Vancouver landscape and the coast of British Columbia.

Thornton currently resides somewhere around North Vancouver and is the author of The Hundred Lives – a Griffin poetry prize shortlisted collection. His most recent work is Answer to Blue, which was written in response to the question

which was written by DH Lawrence.

Next Featured Topic of UMF New Commons Project – Emily Dickinson

One of the most significant figures in American poetry, Emily Dickinson, is to be the latest subject of the UMF New Commons Project. During the 1800s, Dickinson was a prolific poet, but she was not recognised during her lifetime. She was influenced by her upbringing which was very Puritanical and also by the events of the seventeenth century.

The talk will look at the ability that Dickinson had to draw readers into her poetry through her use of things like negative space, omission and elisions – the ghostly presence that echoes some of those experiences that are unspeakable.

The event will begin with a questions and answers session and will be followed with a keynote speech by José Alvergue on the importance of the poet. It will finish with a roundtable during which a selection of Dickinson poems will be created for a discussion feature.



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