Friday, August 2, 2002

For Ray

"On this day in 1988, Raymond Carver died. He was fifty, and he had lung cancer. He said that he had lived most of his life as "bad Raymond," drinking hard and losing jobs, and then lived the final eleven years of his life as "good Raymond," not drinking, writing successful short stories, and winning awards. It was "good Raymond" who fell in love and traveled all over the world with the poet Tess Gallagher; when it was clear he wasn't going to get better, they married each other, and then went to Alaska to go fishing. He died two months later. The last story Carver wrote before his death described the last night of Anton Chekhov before his death". (From A Writer's Almanac, by Garrison Keiler.

Ray was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, on May 25, 1938, and lived in Port Angeles, Washington until his death from cancer on August 2, 1988. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1979 and had two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.Carver received the Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award in '83, 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.

Click here to visit a Raymond Carver web page

Late Fragment*
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
--Raymond Carver; this fragment appears on his gravestone

*Copyright © 1996 by Tess Gallagher. All rights reserved. From "All of Us" (collected poems). Order this book and other Carver works by visiting:

Some poems.

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