How d’yuh spell Iowa? Ee-eye ee-eye oh.


I played with the idea of becoming a writer and later of becoming a painter, but my father discouraged the idea of either writing or painting as a career. “Do not treat the muses as cows to be milked,” he said.

Fritz Heider
A History of Psychology in Autobiography 

…if you see him [writer Hart Crane] speak to him for me I am very fond of him he is so sweet he might almost come from Iowa…

Gertrude Stein
in a letter to Carl Van Vechten

A Norwegian told me his mother sent him to a store to get something and he came home saying he forgot what she sent him for. She sent him again with the words, “What you don’t keep in your head your feet must make up for, my little man.” When he ate with his fingers and his grandmother told him to eat with his fork, he said, “Fingers were made before forks,” and she cornered him, “But not your fingers.”

Carl Sandburg
Always the Young Strangers   

If I didn’t start painting, I would have raised chickens.

Grandma Moses

Mulcahy: What time is it in Iowa?                                
Charles: 18:82.

MASH I have a weakness for Iowa. Iowa is different from the others.

Gertrude Stein
in a letter to Carl Van Vechten
[In Star Trek, Captain] Kirk is eating pizza in a joint in San Francisco with a woman whose help he will need, when he decides to fess up about who he is and where he has come from. The camera circles the room, then homes in on Kirk and his companion as she bursts out with, “You mean you’re from outer space?” “No,” says Kirk, “I’m from Iowa. I just work in outer space.”

Marvin Bell
(Iowa’s first poet laureate)
in A Marvin Bell Reader     

I had forgotten how flat and empty it [the Midwest] is. Stand on two phone books almost anywhere in Iowa and you get a view.

Bill Bryson
The Lost Continent     

Some of the best ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.

Grant Wood
quoted in Art and Antiques
January 1989 

[When Sammy “The Bull” Gravano agreed to cooperate with the FBI in prosecuting John Gotti and other members of the Gambino crime family, an initial meeting was arranged between Gambino and a federal agent named Bruce Moaw. The meeting began in the following way:] Bruce Moaw walks over and shakes my hand [Gravano recalled]. He opened the door and I got in. I told him, “Are you Moaw?” He says, “Yes,” and I said, “I heard you were from Iowa.”
    He said that was right and I said, “Well, if I got to trust somebody, it might as well be somebody from Iowa.” And off we went.

Sammy “The Bull” Gravano
in Peter Maas, Underboss     

Iowa—corn-fed absoluteness—want to be one big family—to have a “crowd”—our “crowd” etc.—their “crowd.”

Thomas Wolfe

When you come from Des Moines you either accept the fact without question and settle down with a girl called Bobbie and get a job in the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever or you spend your adolescence moaning at length about what a dump it is and how you can't wait to get out and then you settle down with a local girl named Bobbie and get a job in the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever.

Bill Bryson
The Lost Continent
home I ate apple pie and ice cream—it was getting better as I got deeper into Iowa, the pie bigger, the ice cream richer. There were the most beautiful bevies of girls everywhere I looked in Des Moines that afternoon—they were coming home from high school—but I had no time for thoughts like that…So I rushed past the pretty girls, and the prettiest girls in the world live in Des Moines.

Jack Kerouac
On the Road
I was Snow White, but I drifted.

Mae West
                                      Above Proposed Iowa license plate (not adopted) by Matt Parkinson © 1991.
quotes about iowa
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