Video: Dean Young Benefit, NYC

Here is our video coverage of last Thursday night’s Dean Young Benefit at the National Arts Club in Manhattan, featuring Robert N. Casper, Joe Di Prisco, Matthea Harvey, Edward Hirsch, Mary Karr, Matthew Rohrer, Gerald Stern and Dara Wier. All poets read favorite poems by Dean Young. (Hirsch also read Mary Ruefle’s “A Poem by Dean Young.”) Find our original report, with set lists, below the video. To read about Dean Young and make an online donation, please visit his page at the National Foundation for Transplants.

Video coverage by D.J. Dolack:


New York — Dean Young’s heart has an eight percent ejection rate, the poet Mary Karr told an audience at the National Arts Club last night.

“Imagine that your heart is pumping out one teaspoon of blood when it is supposed to be pumping out two tablespoons,” she explained.

Karr, along with Joe Di Prisco, Matthea Harvey, Edward Hirsch, Matthew Rohrer, Gerald Stern and Dara Wier, read at the benefit for Young, who needs a heart transplant. Each poet read favorite poems by Young (set lists below) and expressed their love and respect for the poet and his work.

Stern called Young the writer of great mournful elegies, but also “a man so kind and so tender it makes you weep.”

Karr concurred.

“It is not acceptable to live on a planet where there is no Dean Young,” she said.

Joe Di Prisco, Young’s friend and coordinator of the fund, reached Young on speaker phone at the start of the event, and held the phone up to the microphone. Young expressed gratitude, and jokingly told the audience, “have a good time, for god’s sake.”

Di Prisco explained that Young’s treatment costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. More than 800 donations have already totaled more than $116,000, he said, but there is still a ways to go.

Thursday’s event was hosted by Poetry Society of America Programs Coordinator Robert N. Casper.

To read about Dean Young and make an online donation, please visit his page at the National Foundation for Transplants.

You can also read about his work here and here. Here is a list of the poems that each poet read. All poems were written by Dean Young unless otherwise indicated:

Joe Di Prisco

1. Mission Statement (written by Di Prisco)
2. How I Get My Ideas

Matthea Harvey

1. First You Must
2. Bird Sanctuary

Edward Hirsch

1. A Poem By Dean Young (poem by Mary Ruefle)
2. What Form After Death

Mary Karr

1. Bright Window
2. Evening Primroser

Matthew Rohrer

1. Beloved Infidel
2. Comet
3. The Yeah Yeah Yeah Imperative

Dara Wier

1. from “Ode to a Nightingale” (poem by John Keats)
2. Reentry
3. end of The Art of Recklessness

Gerald Stern

1. Gray Matter
2. You
3. Roseprick

–John Deming