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River as Muse: Writers Inspired by Sense of Place

Anthology Features Previously Unpublished Kerouac Works

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By Sandra Seitz

Life in the Merrimack Valley has inspired many writers, from Robert Frost and Charles Dickens to Jack Kerouac and Andre Dubus III. Their work, and that of more than 35 other established and new authors from the area, is featured in the new anthology, “River Muse: Stories of Lowell & The Merrimack Valley.”
Contributors From Campus 
  • Jay Atkinson, former English adjunct
  • Steven Beeber, current English adjunct
  • Charlie Bevis, current English adjunct
  • Lloyd Corricelli, alumnus, Criminal Justice
  • Dave Daniel, former English adjunct and Kerouac Writer-in-Residence
  • Judith Dickerman-Nelson, alumna, English
  • Andre Dubus III, assistant professor, English
  • Dan Graffeo, current adjunct, English
  • Jack Kerouac, received posthumous honorary doctorate
  • Paul Marion, alumnus of Political Science and Community Social Psychology, on staff
  • Henri Marchand, former staff, Sunrise radio program
  • Dave Perry, Public Affairs staff
  • Chath pierSath, alumnus, Community Social Psychology
  • Chaz Scoggins, alumnus, History
“The Merrimack Valley is the scene of a literary renaissance,” Chancellor Martin T. Meehan writes in the foreword to the volume. “The writers in our midst are giving us novels, short stories, plays, poems and essays, many of which draw on this place and its people. They are creating the narrative of this moment, high and low.”
The anthology includes three previously unpublished works by Kerouac, provided by John Sampas, his former brother-in-law and keeper of Kerouac’s estate. Fiction and non-fiction, short stories and essays provide something of interest to everyone. Many of the writers were on hand to sign volumes and read from their work at a book release event, held at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center in early June. 

Publisher Lloyd Corricelli of Sons of Liberty Publishing in Nashua has earmarked all profits for organizations that support veterans, including the Wounded Warriors Project and UMass Lowell’s Office of Veterans Services.  

“Lloyd Corricelli is another example of entrepreneurship among UMass Lowell alumni,” says Paul Marion, executive director of Community and Cultural Affairs, and a contributor to the anthology. “Lloyd and novelist Dave Daniel, a former Kerouac Writer-in-Residence on campus, assembled work from outstanding writers in the region in what is sure to be a book with a long shelf life. This is a cultural document as well as being a great read.”