Beat Generation Muse
Mrs. Jack Kerouac II
The daughter of a demanding mother, Joan Haverty was a curious and demanding student with an apparent streak of non-conformism to boot. In the fall of 1950 she moved to New York City from the Albany, New York area.
On an earlier vacation to Provincetown, on the tip of Massachusetts' Cape Cod, Joan had met Bill Cannastra, a New York lawyer and friend of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.
On October 12, 1950 while riding the subway Cannastra apparently attempted to crawl out of the window. His head smashed against a pillar in the tunnel and he was instantly killed. Joan Haverty stayed in his loft immediately after his death.
Several weeks after Cannastra's strange death, Jack Kerouac showed up at the loft. Two days later Jack asked Joan to marry him and on November 17,1950 they were married. At first the newlyweds lived with Jack's mother Gabrielle. But Joan found that too stressful. Afterall, she had originally left her mother in upstate New York in search of independence. By the end of January, 1951, Jack and Joan were living in an apartment in Manhattan at 454 West 20th Street.
By the end of April 1951, Kerouac had finished writing the over 80,000 words which became his novel On The Road. In June, Joan became pregnant. Jack insisted on an abortion; she resisted; he insisted and, according to a Kerouac biographer, she threw him out. The marriage was over.
On February 6, 1952 Janet Michelle Kerouac was born. Jack denied paternity for years. On several occassions Joan took Jack to court to collect child support.
Joan Haverty eventually remarried, and had three more children. In 1982 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She died in 1990. Her memoir, Nobody's Wife was written during the last years of her life and focused on her involvement with the Beat Generation vortex.
Joan HavertyHaverty, Joan POS BA AB H HR RBI 1983 c .254 264 67 6 29 1984 dh .247 325 81 7 36 1985 c .253 609 154 14 67 1987 if .238 256 61 6 28 Total 4 Seasons .250 1454 363 33 160
Between [Jack and me] there was not even a physical attraction we might have mistaken for love or magic. For me, Jack's appeal lay more in what he was not than in what he was. He was not sexually aggressive, not intellectually curious concerning me, not anxious for me to achieve my goals or improve myself, and he was neither critical nor demanding except in regard to domestic matters.
Source: Women of the Beat Generation, edited by Brenda Knight--Joan Haverty from Nobody's Wife
1997 Dharma Beats Roster
1997 Joan Haverty Cosmic Player Plate
Published: Decemver 24, 1996
© 1996, 1997 by the Cosmic Baseball Association