Segments in this Video

Loss of a Great American Writer (00:54)


At the time of his death in 1988, Raymond Carver had recovered from alcoholism and bankruptcy to achieve literary success in just a decade.

"Bridle" (02:02)

Hear an excerpt from Carver's 1982 short story "Bridle" about a waitress with big dreams. He discusses his working class subjects in a 1985 interview.

Writing about America's Poor (02:14)

Jay McInerney and Richard Ford discuss how Carver drew upon his own background to create working class characters.

"Nobody Said Anything" (01:53)

Carver reads an excerpt from "Nobody Said Anything." View photos from his young adulthood.

Emigrating West (02:35)

Carver describes how his parents moved from Arkansas to Washington during the Depression. His aunt and uncle recall details of the journey.

Carver's Childhood (03:57)

Family members share their expectations for Carver. His mother, Ella describes her husband's alcoholism and fathering skills; Ray reflects on their relationship.

Teenage Literary Talent (04:48)

A school friend and a sister-in-law describe Carver's resolve to become a writer. Hear an excerpt from "Bridle" where the protagonist visits a high school counselor.

Disappointed Dreams (03:38)

Carver describes struggling to provide for his family while becoming a writer. He began drinking when the children reached adolescence. He and Maryann separated in 1978.

Struggling with Alcoholism (03:26)

Carver joined AA after repeated hospitalizations. Members tell their stories at a meeting and Carver describes the stigma of his addiction.

"Why Don't You Dance?" (07:41)

View a dramatization of Carver's 1978 story, in which the protagonist sells his furniture to a young couple while he is drinking. Carver explains the final two lines of the story.

Carver's Second Life (01:32)

After quitting alcohol, Carver published 12 books in a decade and was compared to Hemingway and Steinbeck. He married poet Tess Gallagher and resettled in the Northwest.

"Feathers" (02:32)

Gallagher reads an excerpt from Carver's 1984 story "Feathers" and discusses how he used direct life references in his writing.

Carver's Creative Process (02:16)

Jay McInerney describes the author's deliberation over word choice, editing style, and persistent approach to writing.

"Nobody Said Anything" (06:50)

Richard Ford and Morris Bond recall Carver's fishing expeditions. View a dramatization of Carver's story in which a woman gives a teenage boy a ride to Bridge Creek.

Carver's Final Years (01:13)

Tess Gallagher describes Carver's process of self-acceptance as a recovering alcoholic and buying a dream home together.

"Errand" (02:49)

Hear an excerpt from Carver's 1987 work. Gallagher describes his links to Chekhov, including predicting his own death.

Carver's Death (03:26)

Richard Ford describes Carver's attitude toward mortality. Tess Gallagher recalls her wedding and Carver's sense of writing accomplishment; view newspaper articles announcing his passing.

"Its Course" (04:14)

Richard Ford and Morris Bond discuss losing Carver. Hear an excerpt from Carver's 1985 story "Its Course."

Credits: Raymond Carver: Dreams Are What You Wake Up From (00:53)

Credits: Raymond Carver: Dreams Are What You Wake Up From

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Raymond Carver: Dreams Are What You Wake Up From

DVD Price: $149.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $224.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $149.95



Hailed as the American Chekhov and short-listed for a Pulitzer Prize at the time of his death, only ten years earlier Raymond Carver had been completely down and out. In this vintage program filmed just a year after he died, Carver’s second wife, Tess Gallagher, and writers Jay McInerney and Richard Ford, his close friends, explore Carver’s artistic legacy: his stories and poems about the other side of the American Dream. In addition, excerpts from two of Carver’s most famous stories are dramatized. "No one since Steinbeck had written about these people," says McInerney, "the people whose dreams go belly-up." (60 minutes)

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL10495

ISBN: 978-0-7365-5295-0

Copyright date: ©1989

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.