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Raymond Carver was inducted into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1988.
|Grades||7 – 12|
|Calendar Activity Type||Author & Text|
Raymond Carver, author of numerous short stories and books of poetry, is known for the minimalist style of his writing. He published his first story, The Furious Seasons, in 1960. In 1983 Carver won the O. Henry Award for the story A Small, Good Thing. In 1988, the year of Carver's death from cancer at age 50, he was inducted into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
Explore literary minimalism by studying Carver's works. Begin by selecting titles for your classroom library, assigning a selection or providing a booklist for students. Then try the following writing activity after students have read several of Carver's works:
- In groups, have students identify characteristics of Carver's work. How does his writing compare to that of other authors they have studied? How does this style affect their understanding of the text? Then discuss group responses as a whole class.
- Review the characteristics of literary minimalism ("slice of life" stories; ordinary characters; simple, bare facts).
- Finally, have students write original poems or short stories in a minimalist style. Have students share their pieces and then compare them to other works they have written during the year.
This site dedicated to Carver features a bibliography, brief biography, audio and video interviews with Carver, and more.
- The Raymond Carver Web Site
This resource, from Whitman College, includes a Carver biography and chronology of his life. Also featured are family photographs, a complete bibliography, and more.
- Two Interviews with Raymond Carver
Read two interviews with Raymond Carver, on this page from James Plath, Professor of English at Illinois Wesleyan University. Carver discusses his writing, the writing process, and more.
- Community Reconsidered: Raymond Carver
Wired for Books offers an online community for discussion of Raymond Carver's works. Included is an academic discussion of Carver's works and an audio question and answer session.
Professional Library | Book
Rubenstein offers specific, classroom-tested strategies for teaching Raymond Carver's short stories and poems in the high school English classroom.