The other night at Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City, a few local poets read some poems aloud. The store was crowded. Those who came late had to stand, or sit on the floor.

Because I live in Iowa City, I should point out that by “local poets” I mean Dora Malech, James Galvin, Mark Levine, Cal Bedient, Robyn Schiff, Christopher Merrill and Jan Weissmiller. The event was organized to help Dean Young whose heart failed him, and who in April, thanks to a donor, received a new heart. But now it turns out that it will cost approximately $50,000 a year to keep that heart beating. $50,000 a year, out of pocket, to keep Dean Young alive.