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As Close as I Can

New Poems by Toni Stern, Now Available

Toni Stern enjoyed a highly productive collaboration with the singer-songwriter Carole King. Stern wrote the lyrics for several of King’s songs, most notably “It’s Too Late” for the album Tapestry. Here, with affection and insight, she examines the breadth and boundaries of family, place, language, and self. As Close as I Can is her second volume of poetry.


As Close as I Can

It began in a closet. My mother made room
for her newborn in a narrow walk-in, enlivened
by a small window’s glimpse of sky.
Evenings, she’d put The Owl and the Pussycat
and Winken, Blinken, and Nod on the record player,
and when the narrator purred, “Now Toni,
I’m going to tell you a story,”
I trembled with joy.
How vivid those moments
that press us into selfhood.
How golden, the sound of our name

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When Toni and I first started writing songs in 1969, her poetry took the form of lyrics. Today, as then, her poems are filled with an inherent musicality that joins with her words to evoke emotions and provoke the imagination. Enjoy the journey!
— Carole King
Jm McCrary / Redferns

Jm McCrary / Redferns