Had he lived, Raymond Carver would have been 75 today.

Raymond Carver

Considering the brilliance of the body of work he left behind, I can’t help but be a little sad when I consider what great fictions he might have created in the years since his death in 1988. As a way of marking this day I thought I might share a few of my favourite bits of Carver.

First up audio recordings of three of my favourite Carver stories, The Student’s Wife (read by Richard Ford), Fat (read by Anne Enright) and Chef’s House (read by David Means), can be found on OpenCulture, along with a handy text commentary for the uninitiated.

To get a glimpse at the writer behind the work you could do a lot worse than read his Paris Review interview with Mona Simpson.

You can read one of his most striking and one of his shortest fictions, Popular Mechanics, from What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. (You might want to use Readability or some such extension to do away with the nasty pale green background and let the words come to the fore though).

Carver’s essay on the Principles of a Story is essential reading for those writing short fiction, beginner and veteran alike.

And the wonderful, Carver-inspired magazine Carve has 25% off everything in their store today. Worth a look, particularly as you can get a cut price subscription which will include the upcoming 2013 Carver Prize Winners Edition.

Lots to go at. I’m off to read some stories from Elephant, but I’ll leave you with my favourite of Carver’s many insights into the art of writing:

“That’s all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones, with the punctuation in the right places so that they can best say what they are meant to say.” — A Storyteller’s Shoptalk

Feel free to share your favourite slices of Carver in the comments below.