Beltrametti, Franco 1937–1995
Beltrametti, Franco 1937–1995
PERSONAL: Born October 7, 1937, in Lago Maggiore, Ticino, Switzerland; immigrated to United States, 1974; died 1995; son of Giovanni (a railroad worker) and Linda (a dress designer; maiden name, Fragnière) Beltrametti; married Judith Mary Danciger, 1966 (divorced); partner of Daniela Ronconi; children: (with Danciger) Giona (son). Education: Graduate of Liceo; studied architecture.
CAREER: Poet, writer, artist, architect, and educator. Exhibitions: Journal of Signs, Zurich, Switzerland, 1977; (with Giovanni d'Agostino) Tales by Two, Zurich, 1980; Sperlonga Work, Zurich, 1980; Flowers & Tibetan Papers, Geneva, Switzerland, 1983; (with Nanni Balestrini and Corrado Costa) Tibetan Papers, Pastels & Décollages, Milan, Italy, 1983; More (& Less) than Meets the Eye, Zurich, 1984; Choses, Paris, France, 1986; (with James Koller) Graffiti lyriques, Milan, 1987; (with Julien Blaine, Corrado Costa, Koller, and Tom Raworth) La bande des cinq, Marseille, France, 1991; and Mendrisio, Italy, 1999.
Uno di quella gente condor, Geiger (Turin, Italy), 1970, translated and published as One of Those Condor People, Blackberry-Salted in the Shell, 1974.
Un altro terremoto, Geiger (Turin, Italy), 1971, translation by Paul Vangelisti published as Another Earthquake, Red Hill Press, 1976.
Face to Face, Grosseteste (Commonside, England), 1973.
In transito, Geiger (Turin, Italy), 1976.
Ein anderes Erdbeben, Nachtmaschine, 1978.
(With Harry Hoogstraten and James Koller) Andiamo, Great Raven Press, 1978.
Oog in Oog, in de Knipscheer, 1978.
Airmail Postcards, Vehicle Editions (New York, NY), 1979.
No Difference Here: It's a Fact, edited by Donald Guravich, Evergreen, 1980.
Ibernazione (title means "Hibernation"), Cervo Volante, 1981.
Target: Thirteen Poems and Inks for Annabel Levitt, Grosseteste (Commonside, England), 1981.
E allora (title means "And Then"), Tam Tam, 1982.
Il libro delle x (title means "The Book of X"), Scorribanda (Riva San Vitale, Switzerland), 1983.
A, Manicle, 1984.
Per adesso (title means "For Now"), Campanotto, 1984.
1984, Tam Tam, 1985.
19 permutazioni, Edizioni Inedite, 1986.
Surprise, Coyote, 1987.
Nado Nado, Nèpe Zéroscopiz, 1988.
Tutto questo (poems; title means "All This"), Supernova, 1990.
Tam Tam, Mulino di Bazzano, 1971–74.
L'Altra America, edited by Nanda Pivano, Officina (Rome, Italy), 1972.
Cid Corman, Gratis, North, 1977.
Gary Snyder, editor, 24 poesie di Han Shan, North, 1977.
Joanne Kyger, Sulla mia Costa, Caos, 1978.
Jaime de Angulo, Don Bartolomeo, La Frontiera, 1985.
James Koller, Fortune, Supernova, 1987.
Tom Raworth, Grande Giorno Verde, Supernova, 1988.
(Editor) Belice lo stato fuorilegge, Feltrinelli, 1971.
Nadamas (novel), Geiger (Turin, Italy), 1971.
Fur Book, 1973.
(With Joanne Kyger and Piero Resta) Trucks: Tracks, Mesa Press, 1974.
(Editor) An Alleghany Star Route Anthology, Grosseteste (Commonside, England), 1975.
Quarantuno (novel), Cooperativa Scrittori (Rome, Italy), 1977.
Tales by Three (performance piece), 1979.
(Editor, with Giovanni d'Agostino) Sperlonga Manhattan Express, Scorribanda (Riva San Vitale, Switzerland), 1980.
El Tibetano (three novels), in de Knipscheer, 1981.
(With Donald Guravich and Ken Botto) Snapshots, Evergreen, 1983.
(Editor, with Patrizia Vicinelli) c/o, Scorribanda (Riva San Vitale, Switzerland), 1984.
(With Tom Raworth) Mail, Scorribanda (Riva San Vitale, Switzerland), 1984.
Più e meno di quanto incontra l'occhio, Zum Strauhof, 1984.
Banana Story Eccetera (three novels), La Frontiera, 1985.
(With Tom Raworth) The Thoughts of Captain Alexis, Scorribanda & Infolio, 1987.
(With James Koller) Graffiti lyriques, Avida Dollars, 1988.
(With Julien Blaine, James Koller, and Tom Raworth) A Gang of 4, Coyote's Journal, 1989.
Niente da (three novels), Corpo 10, 1990.
(With Yves Jeanmougin) Marseille, photography by Jeanmougin, Editions Parenthèses (Marseille, France), 1992.
Editor of Montagna Rossa (bilingual poetry journal); creator of mini (magazine). Contributor to periodicals, including Grosseteste Review, Coyote's Journal, Tam Tam, Abracadabra, Montagna Rossa, Invisible City, Docks, Mgur, Infolio, and il Verri.
SIDELIGHTS: Franco Beltrametti was a poet, writer, and artist who was born in southern Switzerland, where the language spoken is Italian. He was well-educated and traveled, counting among his friends many creative people. Beltrametti married Judy Danciger, an American he met in Switzerland, and they had a son who was born in Japan.
The couple moved to San Francisco, California, where Beltrametti first met counter-culture figures such as Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Richard Brautigan, and Michael McClure. He and Judy traveled across the United States then returned to Switzerland, where he wrote his first prose book, Nadamas. Having become fluent in English, he also translated books and wrote for underground newspapers. They lived for a time in Sicily, and participated in the reconstruction, in a shack alongside people who had lost everything in the 1968 earthquake.
With the publication of One of Those Condor People, Beltrametti found himself entrenched in the Italian avant-garde poetry scene. His work continued to find publication, including his second poetry collection, Another Earthquake, and the couple moved to Venice, where Judy worked as an interpreter for Buckminster Fuller and where they also met Ezra Pound, then an old man. Beltrametti went through a period of depression, then moved back to Zurich, while Judy and Giona stayed with friends in London. They then moved into a Swiss country estate in Riva San Vitale, a home Beltrametti maintained until the end of his life. They visited California during the holidays in 1971, staying till the following summer.
In 1974, Beltrametti and his wife separated, and the following year, he received his green card and returned to the United States. He learned carpentry while helping friends build structures. On a trip to see Judy and Giona, Beltrametti was seriously injured in an automobile accident, and he spent three months in a hospital. With months of therapy, he was finally able to walk without crutches. At about the same time, his paintings began to sell. Beltrametti returned to the United States. In his contribution to Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series (CAAS), he wrote, "I became a wanderer; by 1978, poetry and art had taken over my life."
Beltrametti expanded his circle of friends on both coasts. In New York City, he met Annabel Levitt Lee, who published his Airmail Postcards through her Vehicle Editions. In summer, he returned to visit Giona and his friends in Europe, until Judy and their son moved to the United States. Like his father, Giona worked as an electronics technician, copywriter, and, later, a graphic artist, frequently traveled back and forth between the United States and Europe.
As Beltrametti wrote in CAAS: "Life through the eighties wasn't an easy ride. I kept learning the hard way how to survive without going out of my concerns. It takes obstinacy, integrity, and discipline: money made with poetry and art is rare and you can't buy poetry grocery, no, you've got to buy grocery grocery. But since the almost-deadly car crash in Luxemburg 1975, I feel that I'm just going on the ways indicated by my dead friends and teachers. Make it new, give what you know and learn what you don't."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series, Volume 13, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1991, pp. 55-72.