At his farewell cocktail party, [Sherwood] Anderson unknowingly swallowed a toothpick hidden within an hors d'oeuvre. The author sailed on, but the toothpick didn't, penetrating his intestines and causing peritonitis. Anderson became ill aboard ship and later died in a Panama hospital....
In 1925, while working at a restaurant in Washington D.C., [Langston] Hughes tucked a few of his poems under the dinner plate of then-reigning poet Vachel Lindsay. Lindsay shared the poems during his reading that night, and in the morning, Hughes was crowned Lindsay's new discovery, the "busboy poet."
Hughes went on to become one of America's most prolific authors. Lindsay, however, died six years later after drinking a bottle of Lysol.
From an article in Mental Floss (how I loathe that name) via CNN.com.