Robert Lacy remembers his time in Iowa, with Richard Yates, Paul Engle, Kurt Vonnegut, Andre Dubus
We did a great deal of partying in those years. It seems to have been a partying era. And one of the places we partied most often was the little white frame house on Brown Street, not far from the campus, where Andre Dubus lived with his wife, Pat, and their four kids. Andre had resigned his commissions as a captain in the Marines to come to Iowa and study writing. He and Pat were on welfare and received government-surplus food such as cheese and rice and peanut butter. Their house had a big kitchen with a wooden picnic table in it that served as the dining table. We would gather around that table, drinking and talking and snacking on government cheese. Verlin Cassill and Kurt Vonnegut and sometimes even Paul Engle, the Iowa workshop’s founder and director, used to appear at these parties — Engle once arriving with a mixed case of gin and whisky he’d purchased with workshop money from the state-run liquor store on the other side of town. Yates could often be found asleep on the couch in Dubus’s front room. He would have spent the afternoon drinking alone at the Airliner and would be using the Dubuses’ sofa to sleep it off.
Lacy, Robert. “Richard Yates in Iowa.” The Sewanee Review. vol. 118, no. 3, 2010, 422-428.