A former University of Northern Iowa English professor who recounted her 42-year friendship with the author Kurt Vonnegut in a 2009 memoir died May 8th at the age of 86. Loree Rackstraw taught English at the University of Northern Iowa for 30 years, was fiction editor of the North American Review and a well-known supporter of the arts.
She was a 30-something single mother of two when she met the then relatively unknown Vonnegut in 1965 at the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop. He became her teacher and mentor. They soon went their separate ways, but the two remained close until Vonnegut’s death in 2007.
Two years later, Rackstraw published the book Love as Always, Kurt: Vonnegut as I Knew Him which included their correspondence over more than four decades. In this 2009 archive edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Rackstraw about the book and her relationship with Vonnegut.