Mapping stories set in Europe and America, The Dead Still Here skillfully paces through eleven short stories about friends-with-benefits typed relationships, vicious divorces and thievery, the loss of a child, the loss of a mother, and the Coast Guard and the Navy rescuing refugees from a bad storm at sea. Laura Valeri writes one single breathtaking sentence about sex, Dear John emails, and Christmas presents in Liabilities of a Love Misguided and displays a sharp sense of paranoia in What They Know.
This collection is at once provocative and lucid, and it offers various angles of characters looking for a relationship to hold.
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When Fascism took over Italy and his family became the target of persecution, Giorgio joined the Resistance. His life is obfuscated by the fog of family mythologies, but his death reverberates nonetheless through the lives of three generation of women: his wife, who is left to raise a teenager alone, juggling her grief with her responsibilities of motherhood; his daughter, raised against the impossibly rigid standards erected by a conservative society; and his granddaughter, whose adolescence is disrupted by Italy’s 1970’s homegrown terrorism.
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From the Anglo-American woman who makes a spectacle of herself trying to be Cuban in Miami to the estranged son leading his father on a hostile hike in New Mexico, Valeri’s characters carry a heavy load of desire and anger. Proud, loud, and hungry for whatever comes next, each person desperately searches for an understanding that lessens his or her burden. The saints here are pure only in their anger, desperation, and desire to be loved, holy only in their quest to keep going.
Valeri navigates the reader through the bones and scars of those who ache with wanting something else and become a little older and a little wiser for it. The Kind of Things Saints Do is a collection of human imperfections and missed connections that grows into a kaleidoscope of aspiration and hope.
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Work in Anthologies
Our Roots Are Deep With Passion
Edited by Lee Gutkind and Joanna Clapps Herman, with an introduction by Joe Mantegna
Thoughtful, poignant, and hilarious personal essays collected by the editors of Creative Nonfiction explore the meanings of Italian-American identity.
From “Zahir: A Journal of Speculative Fiction,” here are the collected stories of 2011. By turns magical, frightening, charming, funny, and heartbreaking, these are rich and evocative works of literary imagination that explore the strange, unexpected, and darker corners of the human heart.
Creativity and Writing Pedagogy
Creativity and Writing Pedagogy offers a unique view of creative practices and pedagogy in writing from the perspective of writing teachers, creativity researchers and scholars, and writers themselves.
“Ice Storm.” The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature
“What They Know.” The Forge Literary Journal
“Thieving Magpies.” Fiction Southeast
“Prescriptions for Life.” Fishfood.
“Road Kill.” Panhandler Magazine.
“A Kiss for Heaven’s Sake.” Italian Americana.
“The Things We Own Make Us Safe.” Patterson Literary Review.
“Bad Luck.” V.I.A.: Voices in Italian Americana.
“Ghost Story.” Night Train
“Logorrhea,” Web Conjunctions
“Nonna” The Adirondack Review
“Cold War.” Waccamaw Journal
“Furniture.” Glimmer Train
Creative Nonfiction (selected)
“White Like Me.” VIA: Voices in Italian Americana
“Dog Island Trash Talk.” The Chaos.
“After Life as a Human.” The Sonder Review
“Waking, Dreaming, Sleeping, Silence.” Foliate Oak
“My Grandfather, The Fascist.” Temenos
“Fallow Fields.” Mason’s Road.
“Exile Camp” by Diego Valeri. Your Impossible Voice
“Room 347” by Diego Valeri. PRISM International
Essays on Craft and Teaching (selected)
“A Step Beyond Show Don’t Tell: The Poetic Image in Fiction.” Fiction Southeast
“Stealing from The Past: A Research Assignment in Realist Fiction.” Fiction Writers Review
“Reading Past Whiteness in Hemingway’s ‘Hills Like White Elephants'” The Journal of Creative Writing Studies. Rochester Institute of Technology Press.
“Screencasting for Enhanced Teaching and Learning: uses of screencasting technologies in blended and online learning.” Writing & Pedagogy. Lancaster: Equinox Press. Vol 7.1. (2015).
“Beating Drums in the Caves of the Underworld: The Creative Process as a Journey To The Spirit World.” Writing & Pedagogy 4.1. Lankaster, UK: Equinox Press, (2013): 287-296.
Residencies, Fellowships, and Awards
Vittore Branca/Cini Foundation Researcher Residency: May/June 2017
Mermaids Who Create Residency: Awarded February 6-9, 2014.
Shortlisted: The Studios at Key West Residencies, August 2013
Winner, SFA Literary Contest in Fiction Manuscript Contest, February 2012.
Finalist: Grace Notes Publishing Fiction Manuscript Contest, Dec. 2012.
Honorable Mention: Leapfrog Press Fiction Manuscript Contest, June 2012
Finalist: New Letters Alexander Cappon Prize in Short Fiction, August 2011.
Honorable Mention: Glimmer Train Fiction Open, July 2011.
Fellow: Hambidge Artist Colony, Summer 2010.
Fellowship: Walter E Dakins Fellow, Sewanee Writers Conference, 2008.
Scholarship: Creative Nonfiction Conference awarded by Lee Gutkind 2007.
First place winner, Glimmer Train Family Matters Competition, August 2007.
Finalist, Glimmer Train Fiction Open 2007.
Third Place, Inkpot Literary Awards in Short Fiction, 2004.
Prize Winner: John Gardner Fiction Award, Binghamton University 2003.
Prize Winner: John Simmons Short Fiction Award, 2002.
Graduate Merit Fellowship, Iowa Writers’ Workshop, 2001-2002.
Josephine Friedman/Gulf Stream Literary Award in Short Fiction, 2001.