Happy Birthday, Raymond Carver!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011 19:43 Roseann Fino


This week seems to be filled with brilliant writers’ birthdays.  Today we celebrate Raymond Carver who was born on this day in 1938.  Carver, a poet and short story writer has become a huge influence for many writers today and was apart of the rebirth of the short story in the 1980’s.  His first collection of short stories, Will You Please Be Quiet Please, was published in 1976.  Carver split his time between being a janitor and writing, even attending the Iowa Writer’s Workshop for a year.  Carver was continually changing jobs and raising children.

He became an alcoholic and was going to give up writing before joining Alcoholics Anonymous in 1977.  In 1981 he published the collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. He would go on to have his collection Cathedral published as well, which many consider to be his best work.  He has left a lasting impression on literature and entertainment.  A movie will soon come out titled Everything Must Go starring Will Ferrell that is based on one of Carver’s stories.


Carver was able to write minimalist, gritty tales where something was always lurking underneath the surface. In an interview in 1978 he stated, “you are not your characters, but your characters are you.”  He went on to be inducted into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.  In 1988 Carver found out he had lung cancer and wrote about the experience in the poem “What the Doctor Said.”  He would soon pass from this disease.  In Carver’s last book A New Path to The Waterfall he writes, “"And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? I did. And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on this earth.”



Are you a fan of Carver’s?  Have one of his stories influenced your own writing?  I know Cathedral has influenced mine.


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Last Updated on Thursday, 26 May 2011 13:05

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