On this day in 1977, Raymond Carver quits drinking after being hospitalized four times in 1976.
Carver, the son of an Oregon sawmill worker and a waitress, had recently established his reputation as a powerful short story writer with his story collection Will You Please Be Quiet Please? (1976). Born in 1938, Carver grew up in Yakima, Washington. He married a year after high school graduation and worked menial jobs to support himself and his family. A creative writing class inspired him, and he went to study writing at Humboldt State College in Arcata, California. He later studied at the prestigious Iowa Writer’s Workshop. In 1967, his first short story was published, and his first collection, Put Yourself in My Shoes, was published in 1974.
Carver and his wife divorced in 1982, and Carver began a relationship with poet Tess Gallagher that lasted until his death. He won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1979 and two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. He taught writing at the University of California at Santa Cruz, the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, the University of Texas, and elsewhere until 1983, when he won an award granting him a $35,000-a-year salary for five years. He continued to win honors and awards for his short story collections, including What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1981) and Where I’m Calling From (1988). He died of cancer on August 2, 1988.