"I began as a poet," Raymond Carver said; "so I suppose on my tombstone I'd be very pleased if they put 'Poet and short story writer -- and occasional essayist.' In that order."
Carver is most remembered for his short stories in which he wrote about ordinary people using spare unadorned prose.
Born to a waitress and an alcoholic who worked in an Oregon sawmill, Carver was an alcoholic and heavy smoker who worked blue collar jobs and lived the life of the people he wrote about. He once said he "did not think there should be any barriers ... between life as it's lived and life as it's written about."
-- A Reader's Guide to Twentieth Century Writers