You’ll Never Be Anyone Else

Rachael Clyne
Publication Date: 
Monday, April 24, 2023
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“Rich, cinematic and sensuous.” – Joelle Taylor

Rachael Clyne’s You’ll Never Be Anyone Else presents a direct and assured voice, demanding that we think carefully about what it takes to reconcile being different. She advises the reader to ‘Stop drinking the poison / labelled “Hate me.” / It’s that simple. I didn’t say easy.’ Clyne also has an alter-ego “Girl Golem” reminiscent of a superhero but based on the mythical man made from clay and spells to protect Jewish people from persecution. Through this empowering persona, Clyne opens up an exploration of Jewish and lesbian identity. Surveying attitudes in the present day and in the past, these poems explore migrant heritage, sexual identity, domestic violence and ageing. 

The stories of this collection are often poignant, like the retired tailor in ‘Mr Shopping Trolley’, who takes to shearing newspapers, so that his scissor fingers remain busy. Or in ‘Leaving Odesa’, the speaker revisits the prison where – under Tsarist law – her grandmother (even as an infant) had to serve out the remainder of her father’s sentence after he died. 

Clyne’s imagery is razor sharp in its precision, as she deftly weaves different poetic forms and wildly versatile subject matter, even interspersing Yiddish phrases, as part of her own unique poetic idiolect. Take the hilarious poem, ‘Jew-a-lingo (Code-switching for Jews 1970 edition)’ which emphasises Jewish humour as a staple survival strategy.

You’ll Never Be Anyone Else offers a unique story of survival and empowerment told in spite of experiences of violence and prejudice – this from a poet who has spent a lifetime learning self-acceptance and, as a psychotherapist, helping others to do similar. Treating even dark subjects with playful wit and colourful imagery, Clyne is a distinctive new voice with a powerful message about self-acceptance. 


Praise for Rachael Clyne:

“Take a front row seat in Clyne’s very particular theatre of life; witness the tale of a woman’s self-discovery and self-acceptance in a world where the odds are stacked against her. Meditations on history, culture, identity and mortality offer up a simultaneously witty, discomfiting and uplifting read.” – Jacqueline Saphra

“This is a touching and potent body of work where we see a girl grow into a woman through a series of masked and costumed performances, before finally having the courage to be herself. I admire the honesty and wit of these poems, how Clyne leads us through her life, and has the skill to give darkness a shimmer with a spirited raise of the eyebrow.” – Helen Ivory

“These poems embrace the risky, sensuous and camp, holding up a bulb-lined mirror to the scripts the world tries to impose. Layers of personal, familial and cultural history emerge, through vibrant metaphor and formal flamboyance. Clyne’s work traces the prickle of overt and covert discrimination, whilst celebrating the self-liberation performance can offer, both on and beyond the page.” – Caleb Parkin

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