Michael Foley, 2 May 1985
Raymond Carver is a typically American hero, a kind of literary Rocky – janitor, delivery man, sawmill operator, servicestation attendant, an uneducated alcoholic no-hoper who rises to Major Writer status and the Professorship of English at Syracuse University. Most writers would give a right arm for such authentic redneck credentials and one can be sure that most funky jobs listed on blurbs were only held for a couple of weeks during summer vacations. One can tell Carver is genuine because he makes nothing of it. It is the professorship that goes on the dust-jackets and not the many jobs, which are mentioned dismissively, in passing, in one of the essays in Fires.