The Last Days of Jan Kerouac: A Mourner’s Tale

A chapbook by Gerald Nicosia

Nobody is better qualified to write Jan’s Kerouac’s story than Gerald Nicosia.
His deep knowledge of her life, his insight and historical depth plus deep compassion make him the ideal witness.” 
— David Meltzer


Beat biographer Gerald Nicosia knew Jan Kerouac for at least the last fifteen years of her life and has written an excerpt “The Last Days of Jan Kerouac,” of a larger biography to reprise Jan’s literary career and life as the only biological progeny of her famous father, Jack Kerouac.

Includes Author’s Note–This edition was brought out to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Jan’s death. It is being published in its present form without notes or sources. It is a 53-page chapbook containing his writings so far in a biography entitled, “Kerouac Princess: The Life and Work of Jan Kerouac.”

Jan  Kerouac died in 1996 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, right after she had had an operation removing her spleen.

Despite receiving positive reviews for her two published novels, like her famous father, she did have her detractors.

From a review and interview with her in the New York Times: “I couldn’t get into Jan Kerouac’s books. They were apprentice works. It was obvious she had talent, but she needed somebody to show her the way. It never happened.

“Ernest Hebert is a professor of English at Dartmouth College.”

In addition to working as her literary agent, trying to get her third novel, Parrot Fever, placed with a publisher, Nicosia eventually saw himself as a writing coach for Jan.

“I received rejection after rejection on Jan’s manuscript, and some of them were brutal. Editors not only wondered if Jan knew where she was going in Parrot Fever, some of them also wondered if she even had anything else worth saying after telling her sad tale of being Jack’s daughter. A long process then commenced between us. in which I evolved from Jan ‘s literary agent to her writing coach. I suggested she create an outline, to make sure that the novel did stay on track, and I began suggesting scenes the novel needed in order to have the impact Jan sought. In fact, this coaching would go on till the very end of her life, as she finally circled in toward completion of the manuscript, almost four years later.”

Her fatal problems with her spleen were related to her kidney failure, which occurred in 1991. She had been on daily self-dialysis because of her serious issues with her kidneys’ malfunctioning.

Before moving to Albuquerque, Jan lived briefly in Marin, near author Nicosia, who became a mentor and her champion in her battles with the Kerouac Estate.

A lot of the description here deals with her difficulties in obtaining her lawful share of her father’s estate, which ballooned to over twenty million dollars some fifty years after Jack Kerouac’s death in 1969

Cover of "The Last Days of Jan Kerouac"

Cover of Chapbook


Jan was the author of  three novels:

  • Baby Driver (1981)
  • Trainsong (1988)
  • Parrot Fever (1992–93, unpublished)


According to Google Books, ‘This book deals with the final few years of Jan Kerouac’s life when she was working on her last novel Parrot Fever and fighting for rights to her father Jack Kerouac’s estate.”


This chapbook as a special edition may be available from the author. His email address is [email protected].

Gerald Nicosia will be reading from the manuscript “Kerouac Princess” on March 14th, at 7 pm, Depot Bookstore and Cafe, 87 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, CA.

Addendum: Video of Jan Kerouac talking about her father.
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From Wikipedia:

Gerald Nicosia (November 18, 1949 in Berwyn, Illinois) is an author, poet, journalist, interviewer, and literary critic.

Photo of the author with Jan Kerouac

Author Nicosia with Jan Kerouac

He received a B.A. and an M.A. in English and American Literature, with Highest Distinction, in English, from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1971 and 1973, respectively.

He has written book reviews for the past 25 years for many major American newspapers including The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times.

Nicosia is probably best known as a biographer of Jack Kerouac. He has also been an advocate and supporter of the late Jan Kerouac, Jack’s estranged daughter.

In 2001 Nicosia’s Home to War was published. The book covers the problems faced by Vietnam Veterans returning to an ungrateful nation. It also discusses the battle to stop the use of Agent Orange. [1]

In January 2009, Nicosia edited and published the collection Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory, containing photos and written essays and remembrances about her.


Corporations Are People, Too — Poetry by Jerome Sala

Photo of Author. Credit: Turtle Point Press

Jerome Sala’s Corporations Are People, Too

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when it becomes available. . .book cover

(Anticipated Publication Date: May 5, 2017)
Cover Art: Ferdinand and Imelda City, 1986, oil on canvas, 72 x 48 in.
© The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Brown family, by Roger Brown, American (1941-­ 1997)

“As is well known, the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enables a corporation to be considered a person—with many of the rights granted to (human) individuals. But has anyone considered how this person might talk, or, for that matter, write poems? Corporations Are People, Too! is the first to explore such an idea. It begins with thirty “Corporate Sonnets,” many constructed out of the corporate speak we hear and use ourselves every day. Then it goes on to examine how this language becomes part of who we are—from the products we consume, and their meanings, to the ways we think and speculate. The result is something new—both elevated and crass at the same time. The great American pragmatist philosopher John Dewey urged thinkers of his own time to “acknowledge the significance of economic factors in life, rather than evading the issue.” In a witty, satirical and entertaining manner—that employs both traditional and innovative forms—this collection takes up that challenge for today.”


Jerome Sala burns all of the rule books. His poems need to be read out loud as we ditch our cubicles and throw out our tablets. This timely book seems to have been written from the inside out—dissecting advertorials with ready-mades and raging at capitalistic indifference. As the poet himself ponders in one of his sonnets, “Perhaps its stasis urges us to disbelieve.” He is a writer that I want on my side. Thank you, Jerome Sala, for this electric meditation on our frozen world.

—Kostas Anagnopoulos

“Jerome Sala’s Corporations Are People, Too! not only brilliantly skewers Corporate America’s hypocrisy, obfuscation, in- and anti-humanity etc., but does so utilizing poetic forms and strategies so expertly it could be considered two different equally successful books, one an illustration of perfect poetic craft, the other a unique screed exposing in a totally original way the many failings of a commodity-based culture.”

—Michael Lally

About the Author

“Jerome Sala’s books of poetry include cult classics such as Spaz Attack, I Am Not a Juvenile Delinquent, The Trip, Raw Deal, Look Slimmer Instantly, Prom Night (a collaboration with artist Tamara Gonzales), and most recently, The Cheapskates. His poetry and criticism have appeared The Best American Poetry series, The Nation, Evergreen Review, Pleiades, Conjunctions, Rolling Stone, The Brooklyn Rail, Journal of Poetics Research and many others. Before moving to New York in the 80s, Sala and his spouse, poet Elaine Equi, did numerous readings together, helping to create Chicago’s lively performance poetry scene. He has worked for many corporations of all kinds as a professional copywriter and has a Ph.D. in American Studies from New York University.”

“Espresso Bongo,” blog by Jerome Sala.

Jerome Sala Photo Credit: TCredit: Turtle Point Pressurtle Point Press

Photo Credit: Turtle Point Press

author={Sala, J.},
publisher={NYQ BOOKS}