Our Available Magic

Livia Franchini


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Selected by Glass Magazine as one of the best books for Spring 2020

‘…captures the glimmering details of summer at its dry point, all of the meshing sounds of metal – pans clattering, cars pulling up in the driveway – and the strangeness of interweaving balcony conversations.’ – Alice Hill Woods

‘Tracking rituals, spells, and evocations through the everyday, Livia Franchini’s collection Our Available Magic takes place in a world both commonplace and strange. Many poems from this Italian poet, translator, and novelist have a strong narrative element, and have the slightly uncanny flavour of short stories translated from another language and culture transposed into poetry on the page. A longish poem, ‘Swimmer’s Ear’, is the standout narrative poem of the collection, exploring themes of femininity, sexuality, and dominance. The character of the is much more fully fleshed out than one usually finds in poetry, the voice of a bright, smart receptionist who starts out by detailing her fashion choices – ‘I like those silky two-piece suits . . . / Pink looks loveliest in winter, orange in / summer with a light tan’. As with the collection as a whole, a darker subtext of troubling power dynamics and exploitation comes to the fore, undermining the flippant, sunny tone, and the last few lines deliver a significant punch:

. . . there is

sand in my earshells when he pushes me under, salt

water sluicing down my earhole and the black pain

strikes me into a deep sleep.’

– Rachel Chanter, Compass Poetery

“In August the dust was deafening, all things dry. Small anxieties of high summer. Drops of water from your plastic bottle cutting circles like coins on the pavement. Eating a tomato from the hand in an empty apartment. Stand in the corridor, think of all the other flats stacked below you, the ones above you, all empty. When you hear her car pull in, cross the street running.”
—from Estate

Our Available Magic is the first poetry pamphlet by the writer and translator Livia Franchini. Within it poems and short poetic prose fold across 42 carefully observed pages that are insightful, fresh and craftily bold.

Livia Franchini is a writer and translator from Tuscany, Italy. She has translated Natalia Ginzburg, James Tiptree Jr. and Michael Donaghy among others. Her poetry has appeared in 3 a.m. magazine, Funhouse, LESTE, Spells: 21st Century Occult Poetry (Lingua Ignota, 2018), Wretched Strangers (Boiler House Press, 2018) among others. Her debut novel Shelf Life will be published in English by Doubleday in August 2019 and in Italian by Libri Mondadori in Spring 2020.

Purchased by National Poetry Library and UAL London College of Communication

Collections: The British Library, Bodleian Library Oxford University, The Cambridge University Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales and Trinity College Dublin, Tate  South Lambeth Library.

Part of the Hotel Archive