For the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of West Branch Wired, Christopher DeWeese talks to West Branch interns Michael Henton and Sara Blair Matthews.

Christopher DeWeeseWest Branch: Many of the poems in The Black Forest are in the voice of specific characters— the soldier, the forger, and the gambler, among others. Do you identify with one of these characters more than the others? Are they all, in some way, manifestations of different strands in your thinking?

Christopher DeWeese: When I was writing The Black Forest, I really enjoyed the way that titling those poems after their presumed speakers allowed each one to begin in a way that felt completely new, completely blank and unattached to any other poem I had written. It was as if I was exploring uncharted waters each time, discovering who those particular speakers were and what situations they found themselves in as the poems themselves unfurled. Of course, those poems are not really unconnected: since I was the same person writing each one, there are similarities, through-lines, obsessions that run through them, that connect them within the book.

Of all the poems in that book that have a specific persona speaking them, I identify with "The Happy Cloud" the most. I'm not sure why, exactly: I just know that whenever I'm reading that poem, it feels really emotionally true to me. Also, like that cloud, I am very afraid of outer space.

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