Dean Young Got His Heart Transplant!

And we are thanking the donor, celebrating his healing, and raising funds to help him with the debt via a

Benefit Reading at UC Berkeley: Robert Hass, D. A. Powell, W. S. Di Piero, Brenda Hillman, David Breskin, Troy Jollimore and more . . .

When: Thursday, June 23

Where: Wheeler Hall, University of California, Berkeley

Time: Doors open at 7

Free admission

ZYZZYVA and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers team up to present a Bay Area evening of esteemed poets and writers celebrating Dean Young’s successful heart transplant with readings from their own work and from Dean Young’s poetry, too.

This fundraiser to help cover the expenses of the heart transplant will feature a who’s who of poets and writers from the Bay Area and from across the country.

• Robert Hass – served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997 and directs the Poetry Program of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.

• W.S. DiPiero – is a poet, translator, and essayist whose latest works include Chinese Apples: New and Selected Poems

• Octavio Solis – is the nationally recognized director and playwright of several dramas, including El Paso Blue and Santo & Santo

• Brenda Hillman – is the author of eight collections of poetry, the most recent of which are Pieces of Air in the Epic and Practical Water

• D.A. Powell – is the award-winning author of several poetry books including Cocktails and Chronic

• Troy Jollimore – is a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for his poetry collection Tom Thomson in Purgatory

• Michael Wiegers – is the executive editor of Copper Canyon Press

• Dora Malech – is the author of the poetry collections Shore Ordered Ocean and Say So

• Joe DiPrisco – is a writer, novelist, and poet and author of the poetry collection Poems in Which

• David Breskin – is a writer, poet, and record producer and author of the poetry collections Escape Velocity and Supermodel

Oscar Villalon, managing editor of ZYZZYVA, will emcee

Donation stations will be set up for the event (if you can't come, click on the previous post for info on where to donate). Signed copies of Dean Young books, as well as specially commissioned broadsides of his poems, will be available.

Press Contact

Oscar Villalon


Below I have posted two pieces: One is about one of my favorite poets, Dean Young. The other is about the need for a better health care system. We could all be in Dean Young's situation one day for one health problem or another.

Many middle class folks don't realize how close they are to economic hardship due to limits in our healthcare coverage. Many of us are all too clear. Consider donating on Dean's behalf and check out the piece from Physicians for a National Healthcare Program (PNHP) below. They are advocating for all of us.

A Letter from Robert Hass

As many of you may know, our brilliant Dean Young came very near to complete cardiac failure this fall. Dean's heart condition is congenital and he'd been living with it for a while, hoping for the best. By November of this year his heart was working at about 10% efficiency. His doctors at Seton Hospital, the university medical center in Austin were in the process of preparing him for a heart transplant when his heart began to fail altogether.

Three weeks ago they implanted external heart pumps as a temporary expedient. Dean is now out of intensive care and conscious and awaiting a heart transplant. That's the good news.

The difficult news is that, though insurance covers most of the costs of a heart transplant operation, there are typically between $100,000 and $250,000 in expenses before and after surgery not covered by insurance. In response to this fact of our medical system, there exists a National Foundation for Transplants through which friends of transplant patients can make tax-deductible donations to help cover their uncovered medical expenses. You can find details of how the foundation works at their website.

Dean's friends, hoping to help relieve him of that additional worry, have done the paperwork to sign him up for the NFT website and want you to know that they are grateful for help in any amount you can manage.

Here are the two simplest, most efficient ways to give:

1) Best, simplest way to contribute is go to this url link:

Follow the directions to the donation mechanism--"Make A Gift."

Then go to: My gift is in honor of the following patient:

Then put in Dean Young's name.

2) You may also send a check:
If you'd prefer to send your gift by mail, please send it to the

NFT Texas Heart Fund,

5350 Poplar Avenue, Suite 430,

Memphis, TN 38119.

Please be sure to write "in honor of Dean Young" on the memo line.

Thanks--and happy New Year.

Bob Hass

FAQ: Does my money go to the NFT or to Dean?

Answer: Your money goes directly to helping Dean.

-- originally posted at


1) it is a tax-deductible donation for you, and doesn't count as income for him.

2) the online form is slightly confusing.

Under "donation information" with third bubble, "my gift is in honor of the following patient" and write in "Dean Young." Don't fill out the next part that reads "honorariums/memorials."

Some Dean Young poems:

Single-Payer National Health Insurance

Currently, the U.S. health care system is outrageously expensive, yet inadequate. Despite spending more than twice as much as the rest of the industrialized nations ($8,160 per capita), the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates. Moreover, the other advanced nations provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, while the U.S. leaves 46.3 million completely uninsured and millions more inadequately covered.

Health Profits Cartoon

The reason we spend more and get less than the rest of the world is because we have a patchwork system of for-profit payers. Private insurers necessarily waste health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments as well as huge profits and exorbitant executive pay. Doctors and hospitals must maintain costly administrative staffs to deal with the bureaucracy. Combined, this needless administration consumes one-third (31 percent) of Americans’ health dollars.

Single-payer financing is the only way to recapture this wasted money. The potential savings on paperwork, more than $350 billion per year, are enough to provide comprehensive coverage to everyone without paying any more than we already do.
Under a single-payer system, all Americans would be covered for all medically necessary services, including: doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. Patients would regain free choice of doctor and hospital, and doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.

Physicians would be paid fee-for-service according to a negotiated formulary or receive salary from a hospital or nonprofit HMO / group practice. Hospitals would receive a global budget for operating expenses. Health facilities and expensive equipment purchases would be managed by regional health planning boards.

A single-payer system would be financed by eliminating private insurers and recapturing their administrative waste. Modest new taxes would replace premiums and out-of-pocket payments currently paid by individuals and business. Costs would be controlled through negotiated fees, global budgeting and bulk purchasing.

Poems by L. A. Jones

Notes on the Nature of Things

On the trail, the naturalist points
to the muted scarlet berries of manzanita,
“Why would the plant pack its seeds
in such hard little bundles?" he asks,

then he explains: parent plants avoid
competition with their offspring.
When fox and coyote carry the seeds
away, the young plants grow
in another wellspring

some other shaft of light.
Inside every story, a strategy.

I don't blame him for the language of why.
We demand the raven have a reason
for her black feathers.

Language for Monkshood:

The flower hooded itself for God.

After a cost-benefit analysis, the flower
made a pact with the bees.

Before they called her Aconite or Wolfbane, before bees,
she chose her own name, curled inward
let her sepals go violet.

A bird can't smell--she needs to travel lightly.
Her empty brain, carrying 300 songs.

The human ear can only hear a portion of these songs
They drop down canyons, between our conventions
of thought, or lift up above us, like the birds themselves.

Desire has its reasons, sure.

They tell us it's all in the pheromones.
How comforting to know: we are who we are,

but first, we are children of stories,
stories of damp forests, heavy with scent.

This poem appears in Squaw Valley Review 2008 this Spring. Purchase the book at

"Wild Seed" was published on-line in Convergence.

"Of Asphalt" was published in Qarrtsiluni's Journaling the Apocalypse. Now in print, it can also be viewed on-line.

This site is under construction. More poems (by additional authors) and links (to Lisa's interviews) to come.