Raymond Carver

Raymond Carver was an impactful American short-story author, poet, and teacher. Although he was best known for his short-stories, Carver also enjoyed writing poetry and wrote seven poetry collections throughout his life.

Photo: Raymond Carver, photograph by Basso Cannarsa, c. 1987.

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Raymond Carver was born on May 25, 1938 in Clatskanie, Oregon. He was born into a poor family, which shaped the realist themes and style of his poems and short stories. At the age of 18, Raymond married his first wife and the couple began working small jobs in order to support Raymond’s education. Raymond earned his BA from Humboldt State University in 1963, and began attending and teaching at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. However, Raymond’s personal life began to falter as he began to abuse alcohol, which led him and his first wife to file for divorce. Carver continued to suffer from alcoholism until the 1970s, known as his “gravy years,” in which he focused on his health and cemented his position as an influential author and poet. Carver died in 1988 from lung cancer in Port Angeles, Washington. 


Carver was integral in the revival of the American short story with his relatable themes, straightforward writing style, and focus on lower-middle class settings. In his stories and poetry, Carver tells stories of lower-middle class workers, including waitresses, teachers, and factory workers, and their struggles with death, strained family relationships, financial troubles, and other common issues. These settings and themes reflect his experiences from childhood and young adulthood, in which he and his family struggled financially. According to the Poetry Foundation, Carver often utilizes free-verse form and a prose-like style in his poetry. He was also influenced by contemporary American poets and authors such as Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Galway Kinnell, and Ernst Hemingway. 


Jordan Key



Lacy, Robert. “Raymond Carver as Poet.” Sewanee Review 124, no. 1 (2016): 114-117. doi:10.1353/sew.2016.0023.

Raymond Carver: An Oral Biography. 1995. Iowa: University of Iowa Press. Accessed December 22, 2020. ProQuest Ebook Central.

Related Information




The Moon's A Gong, Hung In The Wild: Songs By Jake Heggie

(Raymond Carver, Jake Heggie, Vachel Lindsay, Sister Helen Prejean and Gene Scheer)


Passing By

(Raymond Carver, Jake Heggie, A. E. Housman, Vachel Lindsay and Edna St. Vincent Millay)


Flesh and Stone: Songs of Jake Heggie

(Raymond Carver, Emily Dickinson, Jake Heggie, Sister Helen Prejean, Gene Scheer and Anne Sexton)


Sheet Music

Here and Gone

Composer(s): Heggie, Jake

Song(s): The Farms of Home, In Praise of Songs that Die, Stars, The Factory Window Song, In the Morning, Because I Liked You Better, The Half-Moon Westers Low

Voice Type: Tenor and Baritone

Buy via Sheet Music Plus

Passing By

Composer(s): Heggie, Jake

Buy via Sheet Music Plus

Some Times of Day

Composer(s): Heggie, Jake

Song(s): The Minuet, Simple, The Best Time of Day

Voice Type: Mezzo-soprano

Buy via Sheet Music Plus

Two Raymond Carver Songs

Composer(s): Pender, Scott

Song(s): Grief, Happiness

Voice Type: Baritone

Buy via Scott Pender's Website

Winter Roses

Composer(s): Heggie, Jake

Song(s): The Wren, The Robin, A Hero, Sleeping, To My Dad, Sweet Light, Late Fragment

Voice Type: Mezzo-Soprano

Buy via Bill Holab Music

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