PoBiz stock markets rebounded sharply today on news that the Federal Poetry Police (FPP) had apprehended master Po-thief, Amy Poole. Her poem, “Gun Metal,” was in competition for a Prestigious Pushfart Prize when it was revealed that many of the poem’s modular trauma components were actually the private property of other poets. That news added to the recent sharp rise in people being charged with plagiarizing their creatively expressed deepest feelings and most tortured thoughts. The market quickly sank as poetry investors began to question whether they had parked their investments in real honest poetry or just stolen poetry. Stolen poetry, as industry expert Al Filibuster pointed out on PoFo Podcast Central, “very well may prove to have no ultimate exchange value.” There was also frightening speculation that investors in stolen poetry might be culpable after the fact as accessory to a conspiracy to defraud the poetry reading public, and possibly even of counterfeiting cultural liquid assets.

The Legitimacy Question, as some market analysts have taken to calling it, was further amplified for anxious investors by the question on everyone’s mind: if the Judges of Poetry Excellence of the Prestigious and Literarily Excellent Pushfart Prize Distribution Centre could be fooled by fraudulent goods, what about the rest of us? How was anyone to know whether the poem they liked was a real poem or a counterfeit poem?

Some analysts speculated that unless Poole was apprehended quickly, she could dump enough stolen poetry on the market to seriously damage its overall valuation. A wave of fraudulent poems could set off an inflationary spiral that could rapidly devalue even sincere Creative Writing full of true feelings and genuine experience. Fears of massive language inflation spread swiftly among investors, along with concern that a collapse of the sub-prime poetry market could lead to another Great Poetry Depression. A few marginal players predicted this could bring down the great Network of Poetry Institutions forged in the post-Poetry War detente era (the Poetry Wars are over) by the MFA Program and the Buffalo Poetics Program, which agreed to partition the University between them into separate Po-zones.

Thomas Byron, Poetry Market Expert at the University of Central SouthWestern Iowa, disagrees. “This is an unlikely outcome,” he stated yesterday after an extraordinary meeting of the Poetry Marketing Board at Breadloaf. “Even if the thief manages to continue to dump counterfeit poems in the market, market fundamentals are solid enough to withstand the shock,” he went on. “The Identity sub-market itself generates enough exchange value just in Universities to withstand the uncertainty brought on by a flurry of bad copies. And Identity is a durable commodity. It sells. This could even help prime the market in the long run. A little uncertainty breeds bargains and stimulates investor interest. Who knows what kind of bargain poem you might find in that kind of jittery market. I’ve seen some really heavy trauma poems go for next to nothing in this situation. The fake Identity may even turn out to have more lasting value than the real Identity.”

Amy Queen, Market Analyst at Penn Intelligence Data Financial, Inc. pointed to the Avant-Garde sector as proof of the durability of underlying market fundamentals. “The Avant-Garde market has been unaffected by the plagiarism revelations since it already collectively regularized plagiarism as part of the accepted formal modules for poem assembly,” she said. “That stability has anchored the market during this credibility storm.”

The plummeting market finally found relief when news broke late Wednesday night that the FPP Swat Team had surrounded and apprehended Poole in an all-night internet café, where she was dumping Instapoems on social media from a cloaked terminal, some under her name, some under the name of a south Asian resident of Brampton, Ontario. An Instagram post led to her undoing. She posted a photo of a tattoo of a trauma module on her arm, claiming she had assembled it from her own traumas. In the photo, Poole grins while above her head a bolded caption reads: “So I robbed your Po-purse with my Metal Gun, bitch. I’m so sorry—not!”

The photo was recognized by a friend of the module patent holder, who sounded the alert. Quick work by the FPP located Poole using advanced FacebookGoogleTM GPS software, designed to locate any FBGoogleTM user and target them with satellite generated Algorithm Desire Beams and assorted drone loads, but also useful in tracking down AWOL consumers for reeducation. They apprehended Poole without violence – except for the Taser – and took her, twitching and mewling, into custody.

The Pushfart Prize Distribution Centre has refused comment on this story.

In related news, the low-budget film “Can You Ever Forgive Me,” a sympathetic portrait of a real literary plagiarist lowlife, played straight by Melissa McCarthy, exceeded all financial expectations for the past month. Film industry analysts speculate the unexpected boxoffice revenue is due to a surge of eager MFA teachers and students for whom plagiarism has become a timely topic.

–Dispatches