A Plea, A Poet

A note from Tony Hoagland regarding his friend, the poet Dean Young (posted here with permission):

Dear Friends,

Dec 10

If you are reading this, you are probably a friend of Dean Young, a reader of poetry, or part of the great web of Warren Wilson community. And you may heard that our friend Dean is in a precarious position.

Over the past ten or fifteen years, Dean has lived with a degenerative heart condition ("congestive heart failure due to idiopathic hypotropic cardiomyopathy" is the diagnosis). After periods of remission, in which his heart was stabilized with the help of medications, the function of his heart has worsened. Currently, Dean's heart is pumping at an estimated 8% of normal volume.

For the last two years he has had periods in which he cannot walk a block without resting. His system - especially his lungs--gets flooded with fluid the heart cannot remove. Drugs which once worked have lost their efficacy. He is in and out of the hospital, unable to breathe without discomfort. There are no more medications on the horizon.

Things are rapidly worsening. Dean has been placed on the transplant list at Seton Medical Center, and is in the critical category. (At this writing he is in ICU. ) He's got to get a heart soon, or go to intermediate drastic measures like a mechanical external pump.

Whatever the scenario, the expenses, both direct and collateral, will be massive. A transplant itself will cost eight hundred thousand dollars. His insurance will pay most of direct costs, but the auxiliary out of pocket expenses-- after care, physical therapy, medications, complications- are expected to run over one 100 thousand to 250 thousand dollars during the coutrse of treatment.

Dean's friends have connected us with The National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) a non-profit transplanting fundraising organization. (The money collected will only go to pay medical expenses not covered by insurance; They meticulously monitor it; any money that might not get used by Dean's needs will go into their general fund for others.)

If you know Dean, or his work, you know you know that his poetry is what the Elizabethans would have called "one of the ornaments of our era"-- hilarious, heartbreaking, courageous, brilliant and already a part of the American canon. His amazing body of work-- ten-plus books,-- his long career of passionate teaching, his instruction and mentorship of hundreds of younger poets, his many friendships, his high, reckless and uncompromised vision of what art is: all these are reasons for us to gather together now in his defense and support.

The website address is http://www.transplants.org/donate/deanyoung On behalf of Dean, myself and the principle of our friendships in art, I hope you will donate what you can. Thanks, my friends.


Tony Hoagland


BJK said…
Here is Young's "Poem Without Forgiveness" from The Paris Review:

Poem Without Forgiveness

The husband wants to be taken back
into the family after behaving terribly,
but nothing can be taken back,
not the leaves by the trees, the rain
by the clouds. You want to take back
the ugly thing you said, but some shrapnel
remains in the wound, some mud.
Night after night Tybalt’s stabbed
so the lovers are ground in mechanical
aftermath. Think of the gunk that never
comes off the roasting pan, the goofs
of a diamond cutter. But wasn’t it
electricity’s blunder into inert clay
that started this whole mess, the I-
echo in the head, a marriage begun
with a fender bender, a sneeze,
a mutation, a raid, an irrevocable
fuckup. So in the meantime: epoxy,
the dog barking at who knows what,
signals mixed up like a dumped-out tray
of printer’s type. Some piece of you
stays in me and I’ll never give it back.
The heart hoards its thorns
just as the rose profligates.
Just because you’ve had enough
doesn’t mean you wanted too much.

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