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Rachel Webster makes the past a destination

After a year of conversation about poets and poetry, The Gift poetry series Producer Stanzi Vaubel recorded Rachel Jamison Webster reading from her book, September, and decided to produce this piece not as a conversation but as a direct drop into the poems. “I Know Why I Make the Past a Destination,” Rachel begins, reminding us of the mystery of time – how sometimes we can “almost, but not quite, remember the future,” how we can live days that feel layered with earlier lives, earlier selves. It makes us think about presence, how presence is a kind of fullness of time that suggests the future and past even as it remakes them.

Rachel Jamison Webster curator of this series, The Gift, is Artist in Residence at Northwestern University. Her poems and essays have been published in many journals and anthologies, including Poetry, The Paris Review and The Southern Review. Her book of poems, September, was just published by Northwestern University Press.
First launched in April 2013 to celebrate National Poetry Month, WBEZ now continues our weekly series, The Gift – produced by Stanzi Vaubel and curated by Rachel Jamison Webster, author of September: Poems. This project is a collaboration with UniVerse of Poetry, a station partner that aims to celebrate poets from every nation in the world.  Each piece drops us into a poets’ inner life, reminding us of the gift of being human among others.


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