Laura Valeri Talks Her New Book “The Dead Still Here” at the Miami Book Fair 2018 (podcast)

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Laura Valeri is an anomaly in many ways. Nothing strange. Well, maybe a tad strange. But not in a bad way. Laura Valeri is unique.

Laura Valeri was born in Italy, schooled in Miami at FIU, a student of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a full time tenured Creative Writing Professor at Georgia Southern. How many Italian female creative writing professors with a Miami background can possibly live in Southern Georgia?

We guess one.

And setting is important because many author’s tend to write what they know. Valeri’s new collection of stories The Dead Still Here bounces around Italy, Georgia and sometimes touches on Miami — and these are all interesting and somewhat haunted places.

Laura Valeri definitely writes ghost stories. But not a traditional ghost story — these are literary, not horrific. There’s no boo or gotcha. There’s no zombies or gore.

Valeri’s ghosts are more like demons that swim up to our conscious, making us stare into the omnipotent face of the things we lost.

She writes prose like a poet, with some sentences leaving readers with a catharsis that makes reading worthwhile. She writes with sharp cut to’s, bouncing through time and scenery with scope and gravity.

Valeri went to graduate school down here in Miami. One of our mutual mentors used to say: “Write about love and death. What else is there?”

Laura Valeri’s new collection The Dead Still Here takes that old writing mantra to the mountaintop, in fact, beyond, into the ether, which is where ghosts live, if they live anywhere at all.

Enjoy our exclusive podcast interview with Laura Valeri live from the 2018 Miami Book Fair. And just below a brief excerpt from her collection, The Dead Still Here — which you could buy right here.

Excerpt from “Liabilities of a Love Misguided” from The Dead Still Here.

“. . . the feeling of me, the feeling of me hanging up the phone when he calls after midnight, the deep sleep of three in the morning; the righteousness of hanging up on his drunk; the righteousness of hanging up on his ‘come over, I need somebody,’ the dear John letters, the dear John emails that somehow go on for days, back and forth…another buddy fuck, another stay for the night, it means nothing, stay for the night means everything, she means nothing to me . . .”

J.J. Colagrande

J.J. Colagrande has written about Miami culture for fifteen years, first with The Miami Herald, then Miami New Times and Huffington Post. He is the author of Reduce Heat Continue to Boil and Decò 2.0.