Sunday, October 25, 2020

Happy birthday to Jack Kerouac's sister and a belated one to poet Denise Levertov


Caroline, in uniform, with Jack Kerouac and their parents, Gabrielle and Leo

Jack Kerouac's sister, Caroline ("Nin"), was born this date -- October 25 -- in 1918. She appeared in several of Jack's works: Nin Duluoz in Doctor Sax and Visions of Gerard; Nin in Book of DreamsMaggie CassidyVisions of CodyVanity of Duluoz; Ruth Martin in The Town and the City; and, Carolyn Blake in Book of Sketches. The excellent Character Key to Jack Kerouac's Duluoz Legend lists her twice for Maggie Cassidy (as Nin and Jeannette Bissonette). I asked Kerouac scholar and keeper of the key, Dave Moore, about that little wrinkle and he said (shared with permission):

Yes, it's weird. Both names are used in MC. In the first part, Jack wrote about his sister Nin, but later, when he's writing about the surprise birthday party, Nin is described as arranging it, but the hosts are described as Jeannette and Jimmy Bisssonette. (Nin married Charles Morisette in 1937.)

Happy birthday in heaven, Nin.

Denise Levertov

We also owe a one-day-belated birthday in heaven to poet Denise Levertov, who was born on October 24, 1923. She appeared in Kerouac's Desolation Angels as Alise Nabokov. You can read a brief bio and some of her poetry HERE.

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