Nanni Balestrini

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Nanni Balestrini
Nanni Balestrini.jpg
Born(1935-07-02)2 July 1935
Milan, Italy
Died19 May 2019(2019-05-19) (aged 83)
Rome, Italy
OccupationNovelist, essayist, screenwriter
GenreNovel, essay, screenwriting
Literary movementNeoavanguardia
Notable worksVogliamo tutto

Nanni Balestrini (2 July 1935 – 19 May 2019) was an Italian experimental poet, author and visual artist of the Neoavanguardia movement.


Nanni Balestrini is associated with the Italian writers' movement Neoavanguardia. He wrote for the magazine Il Verri, founded and co-directed the now-defunct Alfabeta[1][2] and was one of the Italian writers published in the anthology I Novissimi (1961).

Balestrini was born in Milan. During the 1960s, as the group was growing and becoming the Gruppo 63, Balestrini was the editor of their publications. From 1962 to 1972, he was working for Feltrinelli, cooperating with the Marsilio [it] publishers and editing some issues of the Cooperativa Scrittori. In 1968, Balestrini was co-founder of the Potere Operaio political group and in 1976 was an important supporter of the Autonomia Operaia. In 1979, he was accused of membership in a guerilla group and fled to Paris and later Germany.

Balestrini became known by a larger public thanks to his first novel We Want Everything (Vogliamo tutto, 1971). It describes the struggles and conflicts in the car factory of FIAT. In the following years, the social movements of his time continued to be his subject. With the book The Unseen, he created a literary monument for the "Generation of 1977". It shows the atmosphere of rapid social change during these years, concretising in house occupations, the creation of free radios and more, and also shows the considerable repression by the state of these movements. Other important works by Balestrini include; I Furiosi, dedicated to the football supporters culture of the AC Milan, and The Editor, dealing with Giangiacomo Feltrinelli. Especially in his book The Golden Horde, co-written with Primo Moroni, his proximity to operaismo is obvious. His final novel published while he was still living, Sandokan (2004) deals with the Camorra in Casal di Principe.

His experimental "novel" Tristano, was conceived to be read by each reader differently, since each sentence is randomly shuffled. Originally conceived in 1966, it had to await publication till the age of print-on-demand, but critic Tim Martin found one of its 109 trillion versions "drifting, impressionistic and oddly compelling."[3][4]



  • We Want Everything, trans. Matt Holden, Verso, 2016. With an introduction by Rachel Kushner.[5]
  • Tristano, trans. Mike Harakis, Verso, 2014 [1966]. With an introduction by Umberto Eco.[6]
  • Lawrence R. Smith (ed.), The New Italian Poetry, 1945 to the Present, University of California Press, 1981.
  • The Unseen, trans. Liz Heron, Verso, 1989. With an introduction by Antonio Negri.[7]
  • Sandokan, trans. Antony Shugaar, Melville House Publishing, 2009.[8]
  • Two Short Stories: Let a Thousand Hands Reach Out to Pick Up The Gun, FIAT, Bandit Press & Shortfuse Press, 2010.
  • Vogliamo Tutto: the novel of Italy’s Hot Autumn, Telephone Publishing, Melbourne, Australia, 2014.
  • Blackout, trans. Peter Valente, Commune Editions, 2017. With an introduction by Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi.[9]



  • Come si agisce, Feltrinelli, 1963.
  • Ma noi facciamone un'altra, Feltrinelli, 1966.
  • Poesie pratiche, antologia 1954-1969, Einaudi, 1976.
  • Le ballate della signorina Richmond, Coop. Scrittori, 1977.
  • Blackout, DeriveApprodi, 2009 [2001].
  • Ipocalisse, Scheiwiller, 1986.
  • Il ritorno della signorina Richmond, Becco giallo, 1987.
  • Osservazioni sul volo degli uccelli, poesie 1954-56, Scheiwiller, 1988.
  • Il pubblico del labirinto, Scheiwiller, 1992.
  • Estremi rimedi, Manni, 1995.
  • Le avventure complete della signorina Richmond, Testo&Immagine, 1999.
  • Elettra, Luca Sossella, 2001.
  • Tutto in una volta, antologia 1954-2003, Edizioni del Leone, 2003.
  • Sfinimondo, Bibliopolis, 2003.
  • Sconnessioni, Rome, Fermenti, 2008.
  • Blackout e altro, Rome, Deriveapprodi, 2009.
  • Lo sventramento della storia, Rome, Polìmata, 2009.


  • Tristano, DeriveApprodi, 2007 [1964].
  • Vogliamo tutto, DeriveApprodi, 2004 [1971].
  • La violenza illustrata, DeriveApprodi, 2001 [1976].
  • Gli invisibili, DeriveApprodi, 2005 [1987].
  • L'editore, DeriveApprodi, 2006 [1989].
  • I furiosi, DeriveApprodi, 2004 [1994].
  • Una mattina ci siam svegliati, Baldini & Castoldi, 1995.
  • La Grande Rivolta, Bompiani, 1999.
  • Sandokan, storia di camorra, Einaudi, 2004.

Short stories[edit]

  • Disposta l'autopsia dell'anarchico morto dopo i violenti scontri di Pisa in: Paola Staccioli, In ordine pubblico, Rome, 2002, S. 25-31.


  • Gruppo 63, L'Antologia, (mit Alfredo Giuliani), Testo&Immagine, 2002 [1964].
  • Gruppo 63. Il romanzo sperimentale, Feltrinelli, 1965.
  • L'Opera di Pechino, (mit Letizia Paolozzi), Feltrinelli, 1966.
  • L'orda d'oro, (mit Primo Moroni), Sugarco, 1988; Feltrinelli, 1997, 2003.
  • Parma 1922, DeriveApprodi, 2002.


  1. ^ Gino Moliterno, ed. (2005). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Italian Culturīe (PDF). London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-203-74849-2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Alfabeta2, A Place For Cultural Intervention". The Blogazine. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  3. ^ Best fiction to read 2014 The Telegraph.
  4. ^ Nanni Balestrini Verso Books.
  5. ^ Verso. Verso Books. June 2016. ISBN 9781784783686. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  6. ^ Verso. Verso Books. February 2014. ISBN 9781781681695. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  7. ^ Verso. Verso Books. January 2012. ISBN 9781844677672. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  8. ^ Sandokan. Melville House Books. 1 November 2009.
  9. ^ "Blackout (Nanni Balestrini)". Retrieved 21 May 2019.

External links[edit]