Charles (Chasen) Gaver, the eldest of three children, was born in 1953 in Wooster, Ohio
to Richard and Helen Gaver. After taking a B.A. from The College of Wooster in Ohio,
Gaver worked as a per diem paralegal at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington,
Gaver identified himself foremost as a "performance poet." In 1978 he received one of
the first grants awarded to an openly gay artist dealing with gay subject matter from
the District of Columbia's Commission on Arts and Humanities. Gaver was also the
recipient of larger grants in 1981, 1986, and 1987, which enabled him to collaborate
with colleagues as well as to document his performances using photographs and
video/audio cassettes. In 1977 Gaver began writing sporadically for The
Washington Blade; ten years later his book reviews would become a regular
feature. In addition, Gaver wrote novels, essays, plays, poems and short stories, many
of which were loosely autobiographical. Gaver's interest in human relationships and his
identity as a gay man were common themes in his work.
Although Gaver spent most of his later life in the D.C. area, he made several trips
abroad, notably one to Morocco in 1982 where he was introduced to the ex-patriot writer
Paul Bowles. Correspondence between Gaver and Bowles dates from 1982-1987.
Gaver was also involved in two organizations; the National Organization for Women
(N.O.W.) for which he started a chapter while attending The College of Wooster, and the
Washington D.C.-based artists collective Black Artists/White Artists. He also
participated in Young Audiences, a performing arts program for inner city children.
In 1987 Gaver was diagnosed with AIDS and began extensively documenting his life with
the illness in "Fever Journal," a narrative account including clippings and
correspondence from October 1987-June 1988, and the medical notebooks, dated 4/17/87 -
1/31/89 and 2/2/89 - 3/10/89 which listed Gaver's daily food and drug intake as well as
his temperature and diminishing body weight. Gaver died of complications due to AIDS in
Washington, D.C. in March 1989.