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Iowa City Poets Celebrate Dean Young


On this week’s Lit Show, host Joe Fassler speaks with four Iowa City writers who’ve been inspired by Dean Young, the acclaimed poet who received a life-saving heart transplant on April 15, 2011. Young had been suffering from congestive heart failure due to a genetic condition called idiopathic hypotropic cardiomyopathy—and at the time of the transplant, his heart was pumping at 8% of normal volume.

Young’s transplant was a success, and the procedure was paid for through his insurance at the University of Texas, where he teaches. But despite full coverage, and despite a generous outpouring from the friends, fans, and fellow poets who love his work, Young still faces massive health-related bills—in the neighborhood of $50,000 a year.

To hear Dora Malech, Danny Khalastchi, Marc Rahe, and James Longley discuss Young’s work, his teaching, and why they love him as a poet, mentor, and person, listen to the full broadcast on