Dario Bellezza was born in Rome on September 5, 1944. After his studies at a liceo classico in his native city, from which he graduated in 1962, he worked for several Italian literary and poetry magazines: Paragone, Carte segrete, Bimestre, Periferia, and Il Policordo.
Bellezza entered the Roman intellectual world in the mid-1960s when, thanks to literary critic and writer Enzo Siciliano, he became increasingly close to Sandro Penna, Aldo Palazzeschi, Attilio Bertolucci, Alberto Moravia, and Elsa Morante, who eventually became a confidant.
The decade from 1950-1960 was a period in which the working class, the Italian Communist Party, the trade unions, and all their hopes for radical cultural change were dramatically defeated. The political and economic growth of the Christian Democrat middle class and the new, changed Freemasonries prevailed.
Bellezza, thus, lived in a political-cultural era convulsed by the ideological confrontations of the 1960s and the subversive ideological line of the aggressive neoavant-garde that struggled against conventional linguistic codes.
From the early 1960s on, Bellezza collaborated with the magazine Nuovi argomenti, becoming associate director shortly before his death.
When Invettive e licenze (Invectives and Licenses) appeared in 1971, it was hailed by Pier Paolo Pasolini in his introduction: "Here is the best poet of the new generation." Invettive e licenze, notable for its technical rigor, depicts people overwhelmed by bitterness, shame, feelings of guilt, alienation, scandal, and sexual perversions. The poems also express a constant, thinly veiled desire for death.
Since 1978 has began a productive collaboration with Pellicanolibri, with the series "Inediti rari e diversi", publishing texts by Alberto Moravia, Renzo Paris, Gianfranco Rossi, Goliarda Sapienza and Anna Maria Ortese, for her with Beppe Costa and Adele Cambria he will manage to enforce for the first time the Bacchelli’s law, an annuity which is intended to poets and writers in need.
Bellezza was a bourgeois, as were many other intellectuals, but differed from them, according to Pasolini, in being "the first poet bourgeois to judge himself".
Pasolini had a profound affection for Bellezza's work and his artistic experience. The young poet reciprocated this feeling, and also was deeply grateful to Elsa Morante for what he called his poetic apprenticeship.
In 1981, enraged by the publication of the "obscene" photographs of the dead Pasolini "in tutta la loro gelida, disarmante crudezza... nudo, esposto, con tutte le macrabe ferite esibite del suo 'sacro' martirio" (in their icy, disarming rawness... naked, exposed, with all the grisly wounds exhibited of his 'sacred' martyrdom), Bellezza wrote the biographical essay Morte di Pasolini (Death of Pasolini).
In 1983, he published io (me), the lack of capital letters intentional. In this work, Bellezza lightly but concretely describes his everyday life and the mediocre desperation of his loves in ample detail. The poet associates life with insomnia, a curse that constantly pursues him:
"mi imprigioni, o insonnia"In the book, he describes suffering from insomnia because, as a highly educated bourgeois and homosexual bigot, he feels tortured by a feeling of guilt and driven by the many contradictions that struggle against each other. Such contradictions are the quintessence of his existence:
(you imprison me, o insomnia)
"l'insonnia viene solo ai bugiardi,In his guilt-ridden insomniac persona, he anticipated the poetry that would be too often adopted in the 1980s, that of the artist-outcast.
a chi disobbedisce"
(insomnia comes only to liars,
to those who disobey)
Bellezza was consumed by anguish and by the relics of (a now mocking) sense of hope:
"E se l'orecchio poso al rumore soloHe is reduced to corrosive accounts of his own social condition:
delle scale battute dal rimorso
sento la tua discesa corrosa
(And if the ear I place to the noise only
of staircases beaten by remorse
I hear your descent corroded
"IoThe difficulty of homosexual life in Rome, particularly the requirements of secrecy and clandestinity of the love act, is a staple of Bellezza's poetic and prosaic writing. In Bellezza's first novel, L'innocenza (Innocence, 1971), Nino, the protagonist, consciously chooses the perdition and corruption of a living homosexual hell. In Bellezza's infernal world, homosexuality can be nothing else but prostitution and neurotically masochistic obsessions: in Lettere da Sodoma (Letters from Sodom, 1972), his conclusion is that everything is Hell and that the only salvation is the systematic refusal of the self.
dimenticato relitto di una civiltà
passata sono il solo che piango i defunti
miraggi di un'età morta."
forgotten wreckage of a civilization
from the past I am the only one crying the dead
mirages of an age gone.)
Bellezza won the Viareggio prize in 1976 for Morte segreta, the Gatto prize in 1991 for Invettive e licenze, the Montale prize in 1994 for L'avversario, and for the play Ordalia della croce he received the Fondi la Postora prize in 1994.
He died of AIDS in Rome on March 31, 1996. That year, a poetry prize was established in his name.
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