Raymond Carver had a hero and role model: Chekhov. After Carver died, many obituaries suggested Carver was “America’s Chekhov.” The accolade would have likely thrilled, if embarrassed, the humble Carver. He loved Chekhov, even inserted some of the Russian’s poems into his own book of poems, never claiming they were his own, merely happy to see Chekhov there beside him, in print. Carver said, “Chekhov is the greatest short story writer who ever lived.” “Anyone who reads literature,” said Carver, “anyone who believes, as one must, in the transcendent power of art, sooner or later has to read Chekhov.” Tess Gallagher wrote how “Ray had somehow won permission through a lifetime of admiration [of Chekhov] to take up his work with the audacity of love.”

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