Raymond Carver

Raymond Carver

About Raymond Carver

Raymond Carver (Clatskanie, May 25, 1938-Port Angeles, August 2, 1988) was an American poet, writer and essayist. He is considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century and American literature. His work is characterized by minimalist stories, narrated in a dry and simple style, without metaphorical concessions, mostly set in the northwestern region of the United States and starring working-class or lower-middle class characters. Carver was one of the greatest exponents of the literary movement known as dirty realism. He studied creative writing with author John Gardner at Chicago State College and continued his studies at Humboldt State College in California, where he earned a BA in 1963. His first collection of poems, titled Near Klamath, was published in 1968 by the Sacramento State University English Club.
Carver was certainly a master of short fiction. He has also been considered as the founder of American literary minimalism. His stories have ordinary people as protagonists, individuals modest in work and habits, and often caught in despair: men and women who struggle or drag themselves through the difficulties of life in a small-town America. With his linear but carefully and finely chiseled writing, Carver leads the reader through a gray everyday life to reveal, suddenly, just for a moment, what little truth and authenticity remains in the small lives described. However, in his poetry is the deep root of his literary inspiration. He was a poet strongly concentrated on everyday life, of which, through the use of ordinary language, he manages to effectively express the fundamental tensions: a certain existential disorientation, the fear of death, the need to be loved, to be saved, to communicate honestly. Approaching Carver's writing and feeling all the inner need means, therefore, understanding how literature can really be a matter of life and death. Certainly influenced, in his realism, by Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby or by Hemingway's stories, Carver in turn has established himself as a master of life storytelling. For example, the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, who has also translated some of Carver's texts, considers him among the few authors - and the only contemporary - who inspired him. Carver was married to poet Tess Gallagher. In 1988 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Carver was an alcoholic from his time at Humboldt State College until ten years before his death. Many of his stories testify to his alcohol addiction. He died of lung cancer in Port Angeles, Washington, at the age of 50.

Browse all poems and texts published on Raymond Carver

Raymond Carver Poems

Syndicate content

Popular Poets of All Time

  • Robert Frost
    Robert Frost
    was an American poet.
  • Maya Angelou
    Maya Angelou
    was an African-American poet.
  • Pablo Neruda
    Pablo Neruda
    Nobel prize chilean poet.