Rod Picott’s second collection of poems, Murmuration, is a walk down the crooked path of life. The thrill of a child’s first bicycle, the looming death of a loved one, the wonder of nature and our relationship to it are all deftly explored. With Picott’s keen eye, prosaic story-telling sensibility and comic dryness – poetry is made temporal without removing its spiritual power. Small and large revelations are on uncovered in Murmuration. Sex, work, racism, family, hope, loss, self-doubt and the small victories of life are all given weight in Picott’s work.
These poems carry the themes of family and aging with particular clarity and nuance. Those familiar with him will note that birds and other animals find their way into the collection in various forms. Nature and humanity are inextricable in Picott’s world. The poems in Murmuration are darker than his previous collection, God In His Slippers. Observational humor is always close at hand even in the most fatalistic poems. Lawn chairs, chainsaws, a tumbler of whiskey, Halloween candy, tractors, a soldier’s boots and a scrap of cloth all have significance.
Murmuration assembles the small things of life, the minutia, the random and seemingly weightless held together by the exposition Picott brings to the unremarkable. It’s this sleight of hand that makes these poems a remarkable addition to his collection of work.