Poetry stocks, which had returned lackluster overall results over the past two quarters (partly due to chronic plagiarism rumors—see PoBiz Stock Index Update, 7 December, 2018), spiked to near-record levels today, after an April appearance by Kevin Young on the Daily Show was conspicuously featured on the front page of the NYT Business Section: Late-Night TV Hosts Give Publicity-Starved Novelists the Star Treatment.

The article, headed by a large, color photo of the handsome Mr. Young, New Yorker Poetry Editor, wearing his trademark blazer and Pocket Square, was beamed into millions of homes from a TV studio in Hell’s Kitchen.

“After Mr. Young appeared on the Daily Show in April, his poetry collection, Brown, went from an Amazon ranking of 2,712 to 335,” the NYT article cooed.

PoBiz sector stocks generally climbed on the news, led by surging prices for POC VIP PO Inc., which rose a wild 223%. The precipitous demand for POC VIP PO Inc. shares was no doubt also boosted by a feature commentary in the NYT, by Tracy K. Smith, current US Poet Laureate, published only two days before. The Op Ed, Politics and Poetry,” sets out to define “political poetry” via examples of a handful of currently chic Prize-winning US poets who work in marketable tether to popular themes of Identity Politics—while pretty much avoiding stuff that might roil the markets, such as antisocial condemnations of capitalism, or stroppy critiques of imperialism. Most of the Op Ed’s case studies, it should go without saying, are colleagues whom Smith hangs with at the AWP or on coveted poetry-tourism jaunts to police state China.

Talk on the street among some MFA executives questioned the optics of the “Politics and Poetry” article appearing ten days after a blacklisted organization, your very own Dispatches, called out Smith’s well-behaved, nonaligned PLOTUS conduct. There was speculation Smith’s piece could be connected to the original, thereby bringing attention to a gadfly poetry operation proscribed by the Poetry Marketing Board. However, such speculation was quickly dismissed by leading official-verse-culture authorities, including the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, Penguin Random House, Boston Review, the Pulitzer Prize Committee, sundry other poetry prize-pacification institutions, and God. A spokesperson for God stated that She doesn’t usually comment on local poetry issues, but felt that in this case the scurrilous accusation by well-known blacklisted troublemakers upset Her because they weren’t nice and Tracy was.

Hillary Michelle Winfrey, Poetry Editor for Penguin Random House, current publisher of Mr. Young (who quit the hip but mid-level Graywolf Press in wake of official adulation for his Bunk, an encyclopedic, partially poached, ploddingly bombastic rant against any and all literary works not accompanied by a verifiable Seal of Authorial Origin) was ecstatic.

“Thanks in great part to the groundwork laid by the state and corporate-funded poetry institutions, which have conducted over the past dozen years a concerted domestic version of the Congress for Cultural Freedom’s stratagem during the 1950s and 60s, we seem to have entered a new era of big demand for verse written by Ta-Nehisi Coates-style liberal poets,” exclaimed Winfrey. “And to such an extent that poetry is now actually making money for us! No longer are leading POC poets causing childish, insurgent trouble, like that Amari Barakum, or Audrey Lordely, or Gilly Scott-Harem, or whatever, used to do. Where did that get them? Now, the adult and sensible POC poets grasp the Rules of the Game, as it were, and they behave accordingly and appreciatively. Give and you shall receive, as the Good Book says.”

Attempts to reach Cornel West for comment were unsuccessful.

Glowing stories on bard Natasha Trethewey, well-behaved Poet Laureate from 2012-14 (apparently believing that folks should come to her instead of her going to folks, she is said to have never left the LOC building, becoming, thus, the most ephemeral PLOTUS since Louise Glück), were reportedly being prepared by twenty-seven Establishment print magazines and websites, twenty-three of whom had already done at least one story about her within the past six months.

Emails by this correspondent requesting comment from Young, Smith, and Trethewey received immediate automated replies, referring the sender to each poet’s respective promotional agency.

In last-minute breaking poetry-market news, as this article goes to press, POC VIP PO Inc. shares are seeing a significant secondary afternoon buying bump on trade gossip that the title of Young’s Brown is not just a metaphorical buzz-trigger to liberal white consumers of au courant poetic product, but a metonymically profound and pithily nostalgic shout-out to the top-shelf, ruling regions of the MFA Industry.

Mr. Young, indeed, received his MFA from Brown University.

—Dispatches