Friday’s New York Times suggests a 36-hour itinerary for would-be visitors to Iowa City, arguably the place most responsible for the course of 20th Century U.S. literature. Among the stops on the agenda is the “Literary Walk”:
Words by 49 writers with Iowa ties â€” including Tennessee Williams, who got his B.A. in English at the university in 1938 â€” adorn bronze panels set into the sidewalk of the Iowa Avenue Literary Walk between Clinton and Gilbert Streets. Among the other writers represented on the walk, which is in the downtown shopping district east of the campus, are Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Connor, Jane Smiley and Kurt Vonnegut, all of whom spent time at the Writers’ Workshop. Among several excerpts that speak of Iowa itself is this quotation from “Shoeless Joe” by W. P. Kinsella: “Three years ago at dusk on a spring evening, when the sky was a robin’s-egg blue and the wind as soft as a day-old chick, I was sitting on the verandah of my farm home in eastern Iowa when a voice very clearly said to me, `If you build it, he will come.’ “
No word whether Prairie Lights Bookstore sells alcohol (perhaps some Iowa experts will report), but as of this year you can booze it up in city parks during Shakespeare festivals. Don’t expect any panty-throwing for Shakespeare, though. According to a June news report, “Iowa City’s first ever foray into allowing drinking in a public park was well controlled and uneventful“:
â€™I drink therefore I amâ€™, touted Mike Carberry’s t-shirt, but he said it was hardly a binge drinking type of crowd. He told TV9, â€œI had a glass of wine, it’s for a few dollars, you get about a half of glass of wine. Well if you’re gonna get drunk on wine, you probably have to drink, I mean, I don’t have enough money in my pocket to get drunk on the wine here.