In Mountain Amnesia
, Thompson’s poems rebuild a new world—and self—in the wake of destruction and loss. Influenced by the landscape of rural Appalachia, these poems depict a nature relentlessly working on its own disappearance for survival. Decaying plants and animal remains are housed in the same world as ramps and bellflowers on the cusp of blooming. These poems do not placate or cover up the inevitability of death, but rather use this knowledge to seek connection and make meaning: “how little and yet / how much it matters to count the dead.” Mountain Amnesia
seeks a path through destruction, using ruin to clear the way for new beginnings; or, as Thompson writes, “the painful, florid bloom of passing forward.” This collectionis a testament to survival and resilience, and animal encounters—the lonely fox, the folded fawn, the returning whale, the emerging voles—become new myths along the way.
Mountain Amnesia also explores the question of how implicated or dependent we are on the lives and actions of others. What does it mean to be accountable to and responsible for those around you? How are we implicated in others’ crimes? What can we do in the aftermath? The poems in this collection explore the limits of knowing and seeing, and how we come to be known and seen: “I ask the world for its bandage /of meaning.” Mountain Amnesia both pursues and surrenders to these limits of knowing, narrowing the vast distances between ourselves and others.