American short story writer and poet Raymond Carver was born on May 25, 1938 in Clatskanie, Oregon. He decided to be a writer early in his life and studied writing at California State University at Chico and the Iowa Writers Workshop. His efforts paid off with the receipt of a Guggenheim Fellow in 1979, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, the Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award in 1983 (which gave him $35,000 per year tax free and required that he give up any employment other than writing), Poetry magazine's Levinson Prize in 1985, and the Brandeis Citation for fiction 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. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages.
Some of his collections are Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (1976) and Cathedral (1983). Where Im Calling From (1988) collects earlier stories and adds a number of new ones. Short Cuts (1993), a collection of nine stories, was woven together into a film of the same name by Robert Altman.
Carver is considered a master of minimalism, that is, fiction that stresses only the essentials of action and description. Generally, his writing is economical, stripped to the bone. Many of his characters seem unusual if not odd or even cruel. For example, one of his brief stories, "Popular Mechanics," takes little more than a single page to depict how a couple breaking up is also about to break up (literally) their child. "Neighbors" is taken from Where Im Calling From and is included in both the book and film, Short Cuts.
Carver died of cancer in 1988.