Raymond Carver (Poet) – Overview, Biography

Name:Raymond Carver
Occupation: Poet
Birth Day: May 25,
Death Date:Aug 2, 1988 (age 50)
Age: Aged 50
Birth Place: Clatskanie,
United States
Zodiac Sign:Gemini

Raymond Carver

Raymond Carver was born on May 25, 1938 in Clatskanie, United States (50 years old). Raymond Carver is a Poet, zodiac sign: Gemini. Nationality: United States. Approx. Net Worth: Undisclosed.


He won numerous O. Henry Awards for short stories such as Put Yourself in My Shoes (1974), A Small, Good Thing (1983), and Errand (1988). His short story Why Don’t You Dance was made into the 2010 film, Everything Must Go, starring Will Ferrell.

Net Worth 2020

Find out more about Raymond Carver net worth here.

Does Raymond Carver Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Raymond Carver died on Aug 2, 1988 (age 50).


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Before Fame

He attended Humboldt State College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He published his first short story collection, Near Klamath, in 1968.


Biography Timeline


Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, a mill town on the Columbia River, and grew up in Yakima, Washington, the son of Ella Beatrice (née Casey) and Clevie Raymond Carver. His father, a sawmill worker from Arkansas, was a fisherman and heavy drinker. Carver’s mother worked on and off as a waitress and a retail clerk. His brother, James Franklin Carver, was born in 1943.


After graduating from Yakima High School in 1956, Carver worked with his father at a sawmill in California. In June 1957, at age 19, he married 16-year-old Maryann Burk, who had just graduated from a private Episcopal school for girls. Their daughter, Christine La Rae, was born in December 1957. Their second child, a boy named Vance Lindsay, was born a year later. Carver supported the family by working as a delivery man, janitor, library assistant, and sawmill laborer, while Maryann supported the family as administrative assistant and high school English teacher, salesperson, and waitress.


Carver moved to Paradise, California with his family to be close to his mother-in-law. He became interested in writing while attending Chico State College, and enrolled in a creative writing course taught by the novelist John Gardner, then a recent doctoral graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, who became a mentor and had a major influence on Carver’s life and career. In 1961, Carver’s first published story, “The Furious Seasons”, appeared. More florid than his later work, the story strongly bore the influence of William Faulkner. “Furious Seasons” was later used as a title for a collection of stories published by Capra Press, and is part of the collection, No Heroics, Please and Call If You Need Me.


Carver continued his studies under the short story writer Richard Cortez Day (like Gardner, a recent Ph.D. alumnus of the Iowa program) at Humboldt State College in Arcata, California. He chose not to take the foreign language courses required by the English program and received a B.A. in general studies in 1963. During this period he was first published and served as editor for Toyon, the college’s literary magazine, in which he published several of his own pieces under his own name as well as the pseudonym John Vale.


With his B- average, exacerbated by his penchant to forsake coursework for literary endeavors, ballasted by a sterling recommendation from Day, Carver was accepted into the Iowa Writers’ Workshop on a $1,000 fellowship for the 1963–1964 academic year. Homesick for California and unable to fully acclimatize to the program’s upper middle class milieu, he only completed 12 credits out of the 30 required for a M.A. degree or 60 for the M.F.A. degree. Although program director Paul Engle awarded him a fellowship for a second year of study after Maryann Carver personally interceded and compared her husband’s plight to Tennessee Williams’ deleterious experience in the program three decades earlier, Carver decided to leave the University of Iowa at the end of the semester. According to biographer Carol Sklenicka, Carver falsely claimed to have received an M.F.A. from Iowa in 1966 on later curricula vitae. Maryann, who postponed completing her education to support her husband’s educational and literary endeavors, eventually graduated from San Jose State College in 1970 and taught English at Los Altos High School until 1977. After completing graduate work at Stanford, she briefly enrolled in the University of California, Santa Barbara’s English doctoral program when Carver taught at the institution as a visiting lecturer in 1974.


1967 was a landmark year for Carver with the appearance of “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?” in Martha Foley’s annual Best American Short Stories anthology and the impending publication of Near Klamath by the English Club of Sacramento State College. He briefly enrolled in the library science graduate program at the University of Iowa that summer but returned to California following the death of his father. Shortly thereafter, the Carvers relocated to Palo Alto, California, so he could take his first white-collar job at Science Research Associates (a subsidiary of IBM in nearby Menlo Park, California), where he worked intermittently as a textbook editor and public relations director through 1970.


Following a 1968 sojourn to Israel, the Carvers relocated to San Jose, California; as Maryann finished her undergraduate degree, he continued his graduate studies in library science at San Jose State through the end of 1969 before failing once again to take a degree. During this period, he established vital literary connections with Gordon Lish, who worked across the street from Carver as director of linguistic research at Behavioral Research Laboratories, and the poet/publisher George Hitchcock.


His first short story collection, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, was published in 1976. The collection itself was shortlisted for the National Book Award, though it sold fewer than 5,000 copies that year.


After being hospitalized three times between June 1976 and February or March 1977, Carver began his “second life” and stopped drinking on June 2, 1977, with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. While he continued to regularly smoke marijuana and later experimented with cocaine at the behest of Jay McInerney during a 1980 visit to New York City, Carver believed he would have died of alcoholism at the age of 40 had he not overcome his drinking.

In November 1977 Carver met the poet Tess Gallagher at a writers’ conference in Dallas, Texas. Gallagher later remembered feeling “as if my life until then had simply been a rehearsal for meeting him.” Beginning in January 1979, Carver and Gallagher lived together in El Paso, Texas, in a borrowed cabin near Port Angeles, Washington, and in Tucson, Arizona. In 1980, the two moved to Syracuse, New York, where Gallagher had been appointed the coordinator of the creative writing program at Syracuse University; Carver taught as a professor in the English department. He and Gallagher jointly purchased a house in Syracuse, at 832 Maryland Avenue. In ensuing years, the house became so popular that the couple had to hang a sign outside that read “Writers At Work” in order to be left alone. In 1982, he and his first wife, Maryann, were divorced.

Carver was nominated for the National Book Award for his first major-press collection, “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please” in 1977 and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his third major-press collection, Cathedral (1984), the volume generally perceived as his best. Included in the latter collection are the award-winning stories “A Small, Good Thing”, and “Where I’m Calling From”. John Updike selected the latter for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories of the Century. For his part, Carver perceived Cathedral as a watershed in his career for its shift toward a more optimistic and confidently poetic style amid the diminution of Lish’s literary influence. Carver won five O. Henry Awards with “Are These Actual Miles” (originally titled “What Is It?”) (1972), “Put Yourself in My Shoes” (1974), “Are You A Doctor?” (1975), “A Small, Good Thing” (1983), and “Errand” (1988).


Tess Gallagher fought with Knopf for permission to republish the stories in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love as they were originally written by Carver, as opposed to the heavily edited and altered versions that appeared in 1981 under the editorship of Gordon Lish. On October 1, 2009 the book, entitled Beginners, was released in hardback in Great Britain, followed by its publication in the Library of America edition which collected all of Carver’s short fiction in a single volume.


In 1988, six weeks prior to his death, Carver and Gallagher married in Reno, Nevada.

On August 2, 1988, Carver died in Port Angeles, Washington, from lung cancer at the age of 50. In the same year, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is buried at Ocean View Cemetery in Port Angeles, Washington. The inscription on his tombstone reads:

Carver’s career was dedicated to short stories and poetry. He described himself as “inclined toward brevity and intensity” and “hooked on writing short stories” (in the foreword of Where I’m Calling From, a collection published in 1988 and a recipient of an honorable mention in the 2006 New York Times article citing the best works of fiction of the previous 25 years). Another stated reason for his brevity was “that the story [or poem] can be written and read in one sitting.” This was not simply a preference but, particularly at the beginning of his career, a practical consideration as he juggled writing with work. His subject matter was often focused on blue-collar experience, and was clearly reflective of his own life.


In December 2006, Gallagher published an essay in The Sun magazine, titled “Instead of Dying”, about alcoholism and Carver’s having maintained his sobriety. The essay is an adaptation of a talk she initially delivered at the Welsh Academy’s Academi Intoxication Conference in 2006. The first lines read: “Instead of dying from alcohol, Raymond Carver chose to live. I would meet him five months after this choice, so I never knew the Ray who drank, except by report and through the characters and actions of his stories and poems.”


In 2009, The New York Times Book Review and San Francisco Chronicle named Carol Sklenicka’s unauthorized biography, Raymond Carver: A Writer’s Life (2009), published by Scribner, one of the Best Ten Books of that year; and the San Francisco Chronicle deemed it: “exhaustively researched and definitive biography”. Carver’s widow, Tess Gallagher, refused to engage with Sklenicka.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Raymond Carver is 84 years, 2 months and 20 days old. Raymond Carver will celebrate 85th birthday on a Thursday 25th of May 2023.

Find out about Raymond Carver birthday activities in timeline view here.

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