Massimo Bacigalupo

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Massimo Bacigalupo

Massimo Bacigalupo (born 1947 in Rapallo, Italy) is an experimental filmmaker, scholar, and translator of poetry, an essayist and literary critic. He was a founding member of the Cooperative of Independent Filmmakers in Rome. As a filmmaker of the Italian Independent Cinema (Cinema Indipendente Italiano), he was influenced by the New American Cinema.

Bacigalupo is also a scholar, specializing in Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, W. B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, and other American, English and Irish writers, whom he has edited and translated.[1][2][3] From 1990 to 2007 he was Professor of American Literature at the University of Genoa.[4] He is a member of the Ligurian Academy of Sciences and Letters, Genoa.[5]


Bacigalupo grew up in Rapallo, the son of Giuseppe Bacigalupo and Frieda Bacigalupo (née Natali).[6] His parents’ house was a center of cultural life in Rapallo.[7] Writers, poets and composers like Robert Lowell, Czeslaw Milosz, Ezra Pound, and Isaiah Berlin met there. [8]

Giuseppe Bacigalupo was Pound's doctor.[9] Massimo Bacigalupo often encountered Ezra Pound as an adolescent and young man.[10] Knowing Pound at a young age furthered his contacts and later literary exchange with Eva Hesse, Olga Rudge, Dorothy Shakespear, Pound’s daughter Mary de Rachewiltz, Donald Davie, James Laughlin and others.



In Genoa, Bacigalupo helped to initiate the International Poetry Festival in the late 1970s when this event was known as "Poetry in public" (Poesia in pubblico).[11] At the time, Bacigalupo motivated poets Denise Levertov and Adrian Mitchell to come to Genoa, .[12] Bacigalupo is still involved in the Genoa poetry festival.[13]


Bacigalupo was a founding member of the Cooperative of Independent Filmmakers in Rome. As a filmmaker of the Italian Independent Cinema (Cinema Indipendente Italiano), he was influenced by the New American Cinema. His films have been screened and acquired by the Beaubourg Museum, Paris; the Tate Gallery, London; the Cinémathèque Nationale du Belgique; the Vienna Filmmuseum; the Cineteca Nazionale, Rome, Italy; Anthology Film Archives, New York; Marlborough Gallery, London, and the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf.[14]

He made his debut in short films with the 1966 Quasi una tangente, which received first prize at the Festival of Montecatini.[15] There followed a series of short films, such as 60 metri per il 31 marzo (1968), The last summer (1969), Migrazione (1970).[16] In these films, experimentation with a stream of consciousness approach gave rise to visual phantasmagoria, sometimes inspired by travels and encounters with other cultures (such as the Afghan and Indian or the North American).

Bacigalupo was also actively involved in a so-called "little mag" (Touch, published in Philadelphia, PA and Bochum, Germany). As co-editor of this magazine, Steven Diamant convinced Stan Brakhage, P. Adams Sitney, Ken Kelman, Bob Lamberton, and George Stanley that they should contribute poems or articles about film, which they did.[17] Bacigalupo contributed a statement, "Toward Film," and motivated a number of Italian underground filmmakers to contribute texts.

In 1970, Bacigalupo translated a programmatic statement of Brakhage, Metaphors of vision into Italian. It was an effort that makes the importance he attached to the work of this filmmaker apparent.[18] In 1969, Bacigalupo participated in the 1st European Meeting of Independent Filmmakers in Munich, together with Peter Kubelka, Kurt Kren, Valie Export, Gregory Markopoulos, the Heins, Werner Nekes and Dore O.[19]

In addition to creating numerous films, Bacigalupo wrote pieces of film criticism on the underground cinema for such magazines as Filmcritica, Bianco & Nero, and the New York-based journal Film Culture.[20]

In 1973-75 Bacigalupo lived in New York. It was here that he completed the short film Warming Up, which was shown immediately after its completion at the Anthology Film Archives directed by Jonas Mekas. He also shot another short film, Postcard from America (Cartoline dall'America).

After 1975, Massimo Bacigalupo produced numerous videos documenting aspects of the work and life of various artist friends. In 2010, the 28th Turin Film Festival dedicated a retrospective to him and his work.[21] Simultaneously, the Modern Art Museum of Turin, GAM, hosted the exhibition "Apparitions: Images and Texts from the Archive of Massimo Bacigalupo." [22] In 2004 Paolo Brunatto, an experimental filmmaker, included Bacigalupo in a series of twelve portraits for television of fellow film artists, Schegge di Utopia.[23]

Criticism and scholarship[edit]

In the 1970s in New York City, he met poets like Barbara Guest, Ron Padgett, and Nick Piombino. He also pursued advanced studies at Columbia University in New York, writing a Ph.D. thesis about the post-war Cantos of Ezra Pound.[24]

While still involved in the arts, Bacigalupo is also engaged in a series of studies and translations of American and British authors. For many years, he has concentrated on the work of Ezra Pound, and has also written about other poets, including Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, William Butler Yeats, Emily Dickinson, and Herman Melville.

His critical works include L'ultimo Pound, 1981, and Grotta Byron, 2001. He has also been the editor of Italian editions of the works of major modern poets, and a translator. In 1992, he won the Premio Monselice, a prize for literary translations, for his rendition of The Prelude by William Wordsworth.[25] In 2001, Bacigalupo received the Premio Nazionale di Traduzione (National Translation Award).

As a Professor of American Literature and professor of the theory and practice of translation at the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures of the University of Genoa, Bacigalupo has been involved in the International Poetry Festival in Genoa.[26]

Filmography and bibliography[edit]

Selected filmography[edit]

  • Quasi una tangente (1966)
  • 200 Feet for March 31 (1968)[27]
  • Her (1968)
  • Versus (1968)
  • The Last Summer (1969)
  • Migrazione (1970)
  • Coda (1970)
  • Warming Up (1973)
  • Postcards from America (1975)
  • Into the House (1975)[28]
  • Ricercar 1973-2020 (2020) [29]


  • Gregory Markopoulos and Robert Beavers in 1987 (1987) [30]
  • Micky Wolfson in Action (1987) [31]
  • Don Perrygrove Enjoys the Italian Riviera (1987) [32]
  • Guido Fink and Friends (1988) [33]
  • Sheri Martinelli in 1988 (1988) [34]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Ezra Pound, Italy and The Cantos. Clemson, SC (Clemson University Press), 2020.
  • Angloliguria: Da Byron a Hemingway. Genoa (Il Canneto), 2017.[35]
  • Tutte le poesie by Wallace Stevens. Ed. and translated by Massimo Bacigalupo. Milan (Mondadori) 2015.
  • Posthumous Cantos by Ezra Pound. Ed. by Massimo Baciugalupo. Manchester (Carcanet) 2015.
  • The Politics and Poetics of Displacement: Modernism off the Beaten Track. Ed. by Massimo Bacigalupo and Luisa Villa, Udine (Campanotto) 2011.
  • Tigullio Itineraries: Ezra Pound and Friends. Genova (Università degli studi di Genova) 2008. [36]
  • Critica del Novecento / Criticizing the Twentieth Century. Ed. by Massimo Bacigalupo and Anna Lucia Giavotto, Genova (Tilgher) 2001.
  • Modernità dei romantici. By M. Bacigalupo et al.; ed. by Lilla Maria Crisafulli Jones et al., Napoli (Liguori) 1988.
  • Life is ecstasy: a Transcendentalist Theme in Whitman, Pound, and other American poets. Nice (Université de Nice) 1987.
  • Ezra Pound, un poeta a Rapallo. Genoa (Edizioni S. Marco dei Giustiniani) 1985.
  • L'ultimo Pound. Roma (Edizioni di storia e letteratura) 1981.
  • The Forméd Trace: The Later Poetry of Ezra Pound. New York (Columbia Univ. Press) 1980.
  • Many contributions in journals such as Clio, English Studies in Africa, L'Indice dei libri del mese, Journal of Modern Literature, Modern Language Review, Notes and Queries (Oxford U.P.), Paideuma, Paragone, South Atlantic Quarterly, Yale Review, Yearbook of English Studies.

Further reading[edit]

  • Giulio Bursi and Massimo Causo (eds.), "Massimo Bacigalupo", in 28º Torino Film Festival on YouTube, Torino, Museo Nazionale del Cinema, 2005.
  • Nuccio Lodato (ed.), Ind Under Off. Materiali sul cinema sperimentale 1959-1979, Roma, Bulzoni, 1981.
  • Giuseppe Bacigalupo, Ieri a Rapallo (1980), rev. ed. Udine, Campanotto, 2002.
  • Massimo Bacigalupo (ed.), Il film sperimentale, numero monografico di Bianco e Nero, 5-8, 1974.
  • Massimo Bacigalupo, "Toward Film", in: Touch No.3/4 (Spring 1969).
  • Andreas Weiland, "On 3 Films (Es-pi'azione, Her, 60 metri per il 31 marzo)", in: Touch No.3/4(Spring 1969).


  1. ^
  2. ^ Peter Makin,”Ideogram, ‘Right Naming’ and the Authoritarian Streak”, in: Zhaoming Qian (ed.), Ezra Pound and China, Ann Arbor, Michigan, (Univ. of Michigan Press) 2003, pp.120-142.
  3. ^ Alfredo Giuliani, “Per Confucio eia eia alala”, in: La Repubblica, July 7, 1985,p.17. Stefano Giovanardi refers to the exhibition "Ezra Pound: un poeta a Rapallo," curated by Bacigalupo and praises Bacigalupo’s annotated translation of Pound’s Homage to Sextus Propertius. See A. Giuliani, “Era un simpatico vecchio satiro” [He (Pound) was a dear old satyr], in: La Repubblica, July 7, 1985, p.16.
  4. ^ Cf. “Bacigalupo, Massimo Andrea”, in: Who’s Who in the World, 10th ed., 1991-1992. Stefano Verdino, "I 70 anni di Bacigalupo, intellettuale a tutto campo", in: Il Secolo XIX, 20 April 2017.
  5. ^
  6. ^ “Bacigalupo”, in: Who’s Who in the World, 10th ed., 1991-1992, ibidem, p.49.
  7. ^ “The history of post-war Rapallo is largely a history of the Bacigalupos. No writer who has lived in Rapallo has been able to resist the temptation to write about them.” This is what Geoffrey Bocca writes, in: Réalités, Jan./Feb. 1981
  8. ^ Bocca mentions such visitors as “Gerhart Hauptmann, Max Beerbohm, Ezra Pound, Rex Harrison, Isaiah Berlin, the Herberts of Portofino, Alberto Pescetto, Enrico Paulucci” and “the Gish sisters.” See also "Robert Lowell in a New Century", ed. Thomas Austenfeld, New York, Camden House, 2019, pp. 95-104.
  9. ^ Marcello Ciccuto / Alexandra Zingone (eds.), I segni incrociati: Letteratura Italiana dell 900 e Arte Figurativa. Part 1.Viareggio; Lucca (M. Baroni) 1998 - ISBN 88-8209-066-3. - Riewald refers to Giuseppe Bacigalupo as “his Italian doctor”. Cf. J. G.Riewald, Max Beerbohm’s Mischievous Wit: A Literary Entertainment. Assen NL (Van Gorcum) 2000, p.79.
  10. ^ Guy Davenport’s story titled ‘Ithaca,’ in: Guy Davenport, Da Vinci’s Bicycle. Ten Stories by Guy Davenport, Baltimore (Johns Hopkins University Press) 1979, pp. 114ff. - published first in Arion (Boston), Vol.1, Issue 2, 1973.
  11. ^ Massimo Bacigalupo (ed.), Poesia in pubblico: incontro internazionale di poesia; Genova, 21-27 maggio 1979: I testi [=Poetry in public: international poetry encounter: The texts. Genoa, May 21–27, 1979]. Genoa (Comune di Genova, Assessorato alle Attività Culturali) 1979. – The second festival, the following year, was called “Parole per musica.” The organizing committee consisted of “Massimo Bacigalupo, Luciano Berio, Nicola Costa, Edoardo Sanguineti”. See: Massimo Bacigalupo (ed.), "Parole per musica. 2º incontro internazionale di poesia. Genova, Palazzo Ducale 5-11 maggio 1980. Letture, Concerti, Dibattiti. Genova" (Comune di Genova, 1980, p.4.
  12. ^ M.Bacigalupo (ed.), Parole per musica. 2º incontro internazionale di poesia;
  13. ^ Bloomsday, below.
  14. ^ "Bacigalupo, Massimo Andrea", in: Who’s Who in the World, 10th ed., 1991-1992. Wilmette Illinois (Marquis Who's Who, Macmillan Directory Division ) 1990, p.49.
  15. ^ The film critic Bruno Di Marino writes, "Bacigalupo (…) realizza in 8mm Quasi una tangente, premiato al festival del passo ridotto di Montecatini di quello stesso anno. Girato interamente in soggettiva, dal punto di vista del protagonista, Paul, il film ci mostra la giornata di questo liceale, i suoi incontri, i suoi vagabondaggi, le interferenze dell’immaginario audiovisivo, fino al suicidio con il gas (…)" (B. Di Marino, Sguardo inconscio azione: cinema sperimentale e underground a Roma : 1965-1975. Roma (Lithos) 1999, p.73) He also says, "Nel '66, (…) con Quasi una tangente, vince il festival di Montecatini [In 1966, … with Quasi una tangente, he won at the festival in Montecatini]." (B. Di Marino, ibidem, p.130) – The festival, previously catering to amateurs, was becoming a festival for underground or experimental art films. ("Cineamatorismo verso nuovi impegni (Montecatini)"[=From to cine-amateurism to new commitments (Montecatini )], Bianco e nero, Vol.28, no. 11. "The achievement of Bacigalupo is valued highly"(p.62). The new importance of the festival for experimental cinema is also recognized by Giampaolo Bernagozzi, L'altro occhio (=The other eye). Bologna (Patron Editore)1981.
  16. ^ 60 metri was shown in at the international film festival dedicated to experimental film in Knokke, together with films by other Italian underground film-makers. See: E. Ungari, “Cinema sperimentale: Knokke festival”, in: Giovane cinema, no.1, 1968.
  17. ^ Issue 2, Feb. 1968 included poems by P.Adams Sitney, George Stanley and Steven Diamant. The Spring issue of 1969 included a poetic text about film by Bacigalupo, an interview of Stan Brakhage by P. Adams Sitney, etc. See also Oxford University (UK), library catalogue: - Touch. - Aleph System Number: 017266028
  18. ^ Stan Brakhage, Metafore della visione e manuale per riprendere e ridare il film. Transl. by Massimo Bacigalupo. Milano (Feltrinelli) 1970. 207pp. (English title: Metaphors on vision.) – The reception of the New America Cinema was a major factor that had contributed to the emergence of the Independent Italian Cinema. Regarding the New America Cinema see: R. Tomasino, “Dal romanticismo del NAC alla critica gestaltica”, in: Filmcritica, no. 181,1967.
  19. ^ A special issue of Supervisuell, ed. by D. Schönherr in Zurich, documented the meeting at the time (1969). The library of the German Cinemateque in Berlin holds only a copy of Supervisuell # 1 (published by Zurich Film Forum, 1968).
  20. ^ Most noteworthy is perhaps the special issue of Bianco e Nero, “Il film sperimentale.” It was edited by Massimo Bacigalupo and also contained contributions by him. It appeared in 1974. Although a special issue of this renowned journal, it is also listed as a book (or monographic publication).
  21. ^ Cf. Renato Venturelli, “Bacigalupo, prof a due volti, Regista cult dell’underground”, in: La Repubblica, Nov.27, 2010, p.23. – Similarly, the film commission of the Province of Apulia noted the “Omaggio a Massimo Bacigalupo al Torino Film Festival (26 novembre – 4 dicembre 2010)”(homage paid to Massimo Bacigalupo at the TFF), see: Apulia Film Commission (Regione Puglia), News, Dec. 2010, p.66.
  22. ^ Cf. Franca Cassine, “Alla GAM: Lettere,immagini e ricordi del ragazzo che girava filmini” (=At the GAM: Letters, images and documents of the young man who made films), in: La Stampa, Dec.3, 2010 (print edition).
  23. ^
  24. ^ Cf. “BACIGALUPO, MASSIMO ANDREA”, in: Who’s Who in the World, 10th ed., 1991-1992, ibidem.
  25. ^ Flaviano Rossetto, "l vincitori del premio ‘Città di Monselice’ per la traduzione letteraria e scientifica", Edizioni 1 (1971) – 38(2008), n. p. 2008. Rossetto names Bacigalupo as the recipient of the prize in 1992.
  26. ^ Concerning the 2001 Festival (“la settima edizione del Festival Internazionale di Poesia, organizzato e diretto da Claudio Pozzani”), the Italian daily La Repubblica noted in its Genoa edition that Bacigalupo was in charge of the events that featured the two U.S. poets Charles Simic and Freddy Longo which took place in the Ducal Palace, the palazzo Ducale. (See: N.N., “Made in USA al festival del Ducale”, in: La Repubblica, June 12, 2001, p.14.) And a day later, Stefano Bigazzi reported in La Repubblica that he conducted another event, this time with a poet he encountered already at the 1995 festival: “Charles Tomlinson, considered the most important living poet in Britain” (See: “Massimo Bacigalupo incontra Charles Tomlinson, considerato il massimo poeta inglese vivente, già all'edizione 1995 del Festival.” (La Repubblica, June 15, 2001, p.14).
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