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FICTION - SPECIAL FEATURE Raymond Carver photo by Tess Gallagher Raymond Carver In the Spring of 1981, Alfred A. Knopf will publish a new selection of Raymond Carver's fiction entitled What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. The three stories presented here in a Missouri Review special feature will be included in that volume and offer the reader a sample of Carver's range and method. About his early life and influences, Carver writes: "I grew up in eastern Washington in a little city named Yakima. I got married just after my high school graduation. I was a stockboy and drove a delivery truckfor Kurbitz Pharmacy for two years. My wife and I had two children in the course of those two years. In 1958, hoping to improve our lot in this life, we went to California and settled in a town called Paradise, about twelve miles northeast of Chico. Wepaid $35 a month house rent, and I went to work at a pharmacy in Chico. After a few months in California I started in as a part-time college student at Chico State College (now University). There was a professor named Edgar Glenn who knew a lot about Ezra Pound and who was very helpful. John Gardner was beginning his teaching career there at Chico State, and I took his beginningfiction writing course. I was a know-nothing kid and 1 argued with him about things, but I was also in awe of him. He was smart, God, and he knew things. He was a writer, I knew that-he wroteall the time-but he hadn't published anything then, and Ifound that hard to understand. But he was immensely helpful to me and patient with me above and beyond the call. The debt I owe him is large and irredeemable." Later, Carver worked in a couple of sawmills, as a night custodian in a hospital, and as a textbook editor and then advertising director for a firm in Palo Alto before being offered a part-time job teaching writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Around this time (1970), Carver's first book of poetry, Winter Insomnia, was published by George Hitchcock's Kayak Press. Since then Carver has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the MFA Writing Program at Goddard College, the University of Texas, El Paso, and is currently Professor of English at Syracuse University where he teaches in the creative writing program. He received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry (1971), the Joseph Henry fackson Award (1972), a Wallace Stegner Literary Fellowship (1972-73), a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1978-79), and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in fiction (1980). Raymond Carver's publications include a second book of poems, At Night The Salmon Move (Capra Press, 1976), Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (McGraw-Hill, 1976), which zvas nominated for the National Book Award in Fiction in 1977, and a collection of short stories, Furious Seasons (Capra Press, 1977). His fiction and poetry have appeared in over seventy periodicals, and his work has been widely anthologized. 22 • T h e M i s s o u r i R e v ie w A Serious Talk VERA'S CAR WAS there, no others, and Burt gave thanks for that. He pulled into the drive and stopped beside the pie he'd dropped last night. It was still there, the aluminum pan upside down, a halo of pumpkin filling on the pavement. It was Friday, almost noon, the day after Christmas. He'd come on Christmas day to visit his wife and children. Vera had warned him beforehand. She'd told him the score. She'd said he had to be out before six o'clock when her friend and his children were coming for dinner. They had sat in the living room and solemnly opened the pres­ ents Burt had brought over. Other packages wrapped in shiny paper and secured with ribbons and bows lay stuffed under the tree waiting for after six o'clock. He watched the children, Terri and Jack, open their gifts. He waited while Vera's fingers carefully...


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