Quick Question: Who’s Raymond Carver?

And like we’ll all read Raymond Carver and have debates about whether he was really that good or like if he just like wrote really short sentences and that was it.


Raymond Carver (May 25, 1938 – August 2, 1988) was a fiction writer and poet who is widely considered one of the most influential American short story authors of the 20th century. His work focused on the struggles and loneliness of everyday people from working-class backgrounds, and his stories often mirrored his own life experience — Carver himself came from a poor family, and struggled with alcoholism and a broken marriage.

His writing is sometimes categorized as minimalism or “dirty realism,” a style of fiction that emerged in the late 70s and early 80s. The genre is characterized by gritty depictions of mundane daily events and a spare, unadorned style of prose that relies on short, direct sentences.

After some early success publishing a few stories in various magazines, Carver’s first short-story collection Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? was released in 1976 and was shortlisted for the National Book Award. He was eventually able to stop working his various day job to focus on writing full time, and his later anthologies What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1981), Cathedral (1984), and Where I’m Calling From (1988), as well as his collections of poetry, continued to raise his profile. He died from lung cancer in 1988.

To get a sense of Carver’s style, you can read his short story “Cathedral” online, or hear him read his most famous story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” via OpenCulture.