Corrado Costa (Italy)
Born in Mulino di Bazzano (Parma) in 1929, Corrado Costa died of a heart attack in 1991 at his Reggio Emilia law office where he worked for most of his adult life as a lawyer of some distinction repute.
Costa was active in the avant-garde literary movement Gruppo 63, and regularly contributed to literary journals such as Il Caffè, Abracadabra, Invisible City, and Malebolge, a journal which he founded in 1964 with Adriano Spatola and Giorgio Celli. Although that journal lasted for only two years, it left an indelible mark on experimental and neo-avant-garde Italian writing.
With the publication of Pseudobaudelaire in 1964, reprinted in 1984, Costa embarked upon a serious literary career that included many notable works of poetry such as Le nostre posizioni (1972), La simulazione del respiro (1986), and Il Fiume (1987).
He also wrote several books of fiction, among them L’ equivalente (1969), La sadisfazione letteraria (1976), and Nero & bianco (1986). His collections of essays include Inferno provvisorio (1971), Invisibile pittura (1974), and William Blake in Beulah, a graphic essay (1977).
Costa cultivated a large circle of friends in the literary and visual arts such as Emilio Villa, Adriano Spatola, Giulia Niccolai, Nanni Balestrini, Franco Cavallo, Franco Beltrametti, William Xerra, Claudio Parmiggiani, Giovanni Rubino, Giuliano Della Casa, and Giovanni d’Ago stino. With them he traveled around Italy, reading and performing his work.
He also dedicated his time to writing catalog texts for their exhibitions, and engaged in collaborative poetry collections, such as Il Mignottauro (The sluttaurus, 1971; with Emilio Villa).
His radio plays, The Condor and The Dodo, or the School for Night, were produced in English in 1979 and 1981, and broadcast live, coast to coast, by the Los Angeles Theater of the Ear (L.A.T.E.).
Perhaps the best summary of his life was written by Costa himself for the publication Autodizionario degli scrittori italiani (Self-written dictionary of Italian authors, 1989). In his piece, which begins, “Corrado Costa are two brothers. They bear the same name. They have the same birth date,” one may catch a glimpse of the poet’s wondrously comic imagination and his uniquely bifurcated talent, evidenced by such words as “So we ask ourselves: does the poet’s biography mask that of the professional or does the professional’s mask that of the poet? Or is it the case, as both brothers sustain, that neither of them has the so-called right to a biography?”
Pseudobaudelaire (Milan: Scheiwiller, 1969) / reprinted 1984; Il Mignattauro (with Emilio Villa) (Macerata, La Nuova Foglio, 1969); Per una teoria delle ombre (Macerata: La Nuova Foglio, 1971); Maograd (with Giovanni Rubino) (Macerata, La Nuova Foglio, 1972); Le nostre posizioni (1972); Protosip (with Giulio Bizzarri) (Reggio Emilia: Pari & Dispari, 1972); Innesto (with William Xerra) (Piacenza, Tecnostampa Piacenza, 1972); Le nostre posizioni (Turin: Geiger, 1972); Tre poemi (with William Xerra) (Reggio Emilia: Pari & Dispari, 1973); Il poesia illustrato (with Silvio Cadelo and Lucietta Righetti) (Reggio Emilia: 1977); La piedra colectiva: Canciones con movimiento (with Nanni Balestrini) (Florlì: Exit Ed., 1978); Anche il ciclope racconta il canto nono (with Paolo Cotani) (Rome: Cervo Volante, N. 3, 1981); Volubile volatile (with Tommaso Cascella) (Rome: Cervo Volante, N. 11, 1982); La simulazione del respiro (with Romana Spinelli) (Milan: Avida Dollars Ed., 1986); Il Fiume (1987)
ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS
Our Positions (Fairfax, California: Red Hill Press, 1975); The Complete Films (Los Angeles/San Francisco: Red Hill Press, 1983)