"Joe Wilkins has a big, true, highway-running American voice. When you see a new book of his, you should celebrate. Just buy it, put down the window, and let the music blow back your hair. It's nothing but alive." – Luis Alberto Urrea
Violence–even sometimes brutality–may be an integral part of the world Wilkins creates, but there is room for tenderness, too. In “A Prayer,” an expansive, Whitman-esque poem that closes the collection, the poet turns his unflinching eye on the people who populate his poems, men who “water the sodden garden of themselves / with liquor” and women “nailing / themselves to the rough-cut boards of their husbands.” While these portraits are not necessarily flattering, there is an undertone of admiration in every line: he celebrates these people because of what they’re willing to endure in the hostile Western environment, and the poem is all the more moving because he seemingly counts himself among the people he describes. “A Prayer,” like the other poems in Killing the Murnion Dogs, is ultimately a kind of love poem, albeit a complex and sometimes disturbing one.