In a letter to Allen Tate on March 15, 1950, Lowell describes his life in Iowa City:
All has turned out very well. We are living in a large light room and kitchen, furnished with borrowings, pick-ups, and two packing trunks–our own, and large as garages. The Macauleys are a block down the street, and the Wests a few blocks to the south in a frail brick Wormwood house with urns on the lawn….Every afternoon a pack of very harmless and sorry-looking stray dogs settles on our pathway. This is one of the marks of Iowa City; the others are high-brow movies, the new criticism, a quarter of an inch of ice, and the Benasek murder trial, which Elizabeth is moving heaven and earth to enter as an accredited reporter.