Creative Writing stocks fall sharply on news of first verified death from overproduction of bad, self-involved poetry — Po-experts predict a pandemic to follow, as Pofo, Inc. seeks to calm market nerves.

Stocks in the Pobiz Creative Writing sector fell sharply across the board on Friday as reports circulated of the first verified death from over-production and over-presentation of identity poetry. Sarah Mulligan, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, collapsed and died of apoplexy at a recent group reading in honour of Paul Engels. Just before perishing, she was heard to gasp “No, not another one” when Frank Moody, the 115th reader in a lineup of 200, smiled and told the audience, “Just one more” after already having exceeded the 5 minute limit by 10 minutes. Industry critics have long predicted the eventual collapse of the identity poetry bubble, and many claimed this was the beginning of the end for the industry. When it became clear the vigorous CPR by MC Ron Sillimax was not going to revive Mulligan (some later suggested Mulligan actually only passed out, and that violent chest pounding actually killed her), the reading was called off, angering Moody who was heard to complain he had been triggered by the interruption of his best poem ever. Many of the remaining 85 readers stormed out of the chandeliered room muttering insults, even before Mulligan’s body could be covered by a twenty-yard long PoFo, Inc. tablecloth.

Gary Beturass, an official spokesman for the Creative Writing Industry, dismissed the sell-off as a hiccup that would soon pass. “Identity is a solid product,” he said, “especially linked to trauma. It’s deeply American in its assertion of individualism and suffering. We remain confident that it will continue to sell and dominate the commercial poetry market.” Richard Clipart of PoFo, Inc. agreed. The former chair of the NSA and CEO of Lehman Brothers, whose world of experience with poetry has helped increase PoFo Inc.’s domination of the poetry market, and who now heads up PoFo, Inc.s Board, echoed Beturass’s optimism: “Nothing can replace individual suffering as a top selling product. You think people want to read about fishing towns or wastelands? Are you nuts? They want a poem that makes them cry in sympathy with anyone whose life was irremediably screwed up by their family, just like theirs was. With lots of cool similes.”

Other industry analysts, however, demurred. “This is the beginning of a pandemic of deaths from bad poetry,” said Samuel Wreckitt, managing partner of poetry consulting firm, Dadapo, Ltd. “We have been predicting for years now that the amount of gaseous exhaust from unregulated poetry readings is a serious threat to public health. Combine that with the fact that producers of identity poetry can’t get enough of themselves and think everybody else shares their self-admiration, and you are looking at a catastrophe in the making.”

Market analysts were carefully monitoring poetry readings across the country today for other reported deaths.