We worship at the altar of the slaughter. We bow down and make sacrifice to its Holy Being. We grace ourselves in its glow. Because in the cathedrals of literature, no other Deity can bestow upon you such Grace.
Raymond Clevie Carver, Jr. (May 25, 1938 – August 2, 1988) was an American short story writer and poet. Carver was a major writer of the late 20th century and a major force in the revitalization of the American short story in literature in the 1980s.Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, a mill town on the Columbia River, and grew up in Yakima, Washington. His father, a skilled sawmill worker from Arkansas, was a fisherman and a heavy drinker. Carver’s mother worked on and off as a waitress and a retail clerk. His one brother, James Franklin Carver, was born in 1943.
Carver was educated at local schools in Yakima, Washington. In his spare time he read mostly novels by Mickey Spillane or publications such as Sports Afield and Outdoor Life and hunted and fished with friends and family. After graduating from Yakima High School in 1956, Carver worked with his father at a sawmill in California. In June 1957, aged 19, he married 16-year-old Maryann Burk, who had just graduated from a private Episcopal school for girls. Their daughter, Christine La Rae, was born in December 1957. When their second child, a boy named Vance Lindsay, was born the next year, Carver was 20. Carver supported his family by working as a janitor, sawmill laborer, delivery man, and library assistant. During their marriage, Maryann worked as a waitress, salesperson, administrative assistant, and high school English teacher.
Carver became interested in writing in California, where he had moved with his family because his mother-in-law had a home in Paradise. Carver attended a creative writing course taught by the novelist John Gardner, who became a mentor and had a major influence on Carver’s life and career. His first published story, “The Furious Seasons”, appeared in 1961. More florid than his later work, the story strongly bore the influence of William Faulkner. “Furious Seasons” was later used as a title for a collection of stories published by Capra Press, and can now be found in the recent collections, No Heroics, Please and Call If You Need Me.