The American short story writer and poet Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, on May 25, 1938, and lived in Port Angeles, Washington during his last ten, sober years until his death from cancer on August 2, 1988. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1979 and was twice awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1983 Carver received the prestigious Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award which gave him $35,000 per year tax free and required that he give up any employment other than writing, and in 1985 Poetry magazine’s Levinson Prize. In 1988 he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Hartford. He received a Brandeis Citation for fiction in 1988. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages.
At least that’s the basic biography. Of course there’s no room in it for the nature of the hardship he and his family went through during most of those fifty years between birth and death. There’s no mention of his marriage at 19, the birth of his two children, Christine and Vance, by the time he was 21. No mention of his sometimes ferocious fights with his first wife, Maryann. No mention, either, of his near death, the hospitalizations – four times in 1976 and 1977 – for acute alcoholism.