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Raymond Clevie Carver, Jr. (Clatskanie, Oregon, May 25, 1938-Port Angeles, Washington, August 2, 1988) was an American storyteller and poet. Highlighted mainly by his stories of minimalist style, mostly set in the Northwest region of the United States and featuring characters of working class or low-middle class, Carver is considered one of the founders and greatest exponents of the literary movement known as “realism” dirty ».
Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon and grew up in Yakima, Washington. His father worked in a sawmill and was an alcoholic. His mother worked as a waitress and a saleswoman. He had a single brother named James Franklyn Carver who was born in 1943.
For some time, Carver studied under the tutelage of writer John Gardner, at Chico State College, in Chico, California. He published countless stories in magazines and newspapers, including the New Yorker and Esquire, which mostly narrate the lives of workers and people from the disadvantaged classes of American society. Their stories have been included in some of the most prestigious American compilations: Best American Short Stories and the O. Henry Award for short stories.
Carver was married twice. His second wife was the poet Tess Gallagher. Alcoholic, whose effects are manifested in some of his characters, Carver remained sober for the last ten years of his life. He was a great friend of Tobias Wolff and Richard Ford, writers of dirty realism too.
In 1988, he was sworn in by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Critics associate Carver’s writings to minimalism and consider him the father of the cited current of dirty realism. At the time of his death Carver was considered a fashion writer, an icon that America “could not afford to lose,” according to Richar Gottlieb, then New Yorker editor. Without a doubt it was his best storyteller, perhaps the best of the century with Chekhov, in the words of the Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño. In line with this idea, it is worth highlighting a superb story dedicated to the last days of the aforementioned Russian writer named “Tres rosas amarillas”.
His editor at Esquire, Gordon Lish, played a decisive role in conceiving the style of Carver’s prose. For example, where Gardner recommended Carver to use 15 words instead of 25, Lish urged him to use 5 instead of 15. During this time, Carver also sent his poetry to James Dickey, then editor of Esquire poetry.
Carver died in Port Angeles, Washington, of lung cancer, at 50 years of age.
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