Born: 25 May 1938
Died: 2 August 1988 (lung cancer)
Birthplace: Clatskanie, Oregon
Best known as: American short-story writer
Raymond Carver was a short-story writer credited with revitalizing the form in the United States during the 1970s and '80s. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Carver spent most of his childhood in Yakima, Washington. He moved to California in 1958 and took up writing in the early 1960s. During the 1960s he worked as a textbook editor, lecturer and teacher while writing, and published several short stories and his first book, Winter Insomnia
(1970). His 1976 collection Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?
established his reputation and featured some of his trademarks: alcohol, poverty and ordinary people in ordinary but desperate situations. Carver, who also taught writing and wrote poetry, has been called a "minimalist" because of his spare and realistic fiction, and has been compared to Ernest Hemingway
and Anton Chekhov
. In the late 1970s Carver required hospitalization four times in under two years for acute alcoholism. By the mid-1980s, however, he was sober, writing full-time and married to the poet Tess Gallagher (it was his second marriage). He died at the age of fifty from lung cancer, and his last collection of stories, Where I'm Calling From
, was published posthumously in 1989. His collections of poetry include Where Water Comes Together With Other Water
(1985) and Ultramarine
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