Trap Street (Able Muse Book Award for Poetry) (Paperback)

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Will Cordeiro's Trap Street travels a shifting landscape. Keenly observed deserts, woods, highways, seaside enclaves, mountainsides, and motels parade in an expansive sweep of the natural and the manmade, often returning to inhabited settings and navigating spirited-to-tense family and social situations. Cordeiro's vivid musings are deployed with a precision of craft and diction, buttressed by symphonic wordsmithing worthy of a lexicographer. This exceptional debut poetry collection, winner of the 2019 Able Muse Book Award, does not look away from either grime or beauty, but lays bare the nature of things.


The formal elegance and beauty of these poems clash smartly with the hardscrabble world where they occur. Back-road towns and landscapes, down-and-out rust belt cities, the worn-out West-this is a book that bears witness to the fizzled American dream. What's left? Mindless jobs, litter, distraction, addiction, voiceless anxiety, environmental desecration, and we are to make a meaningful life from this. These are poems written in the long pastoral tradition, except the pristine, inspiring pasture-scene, starkly, is no longer there. I expect there is a bit of exaggeration here, along with the honest depiction, and that makes this a book both of witness and warning.

-Maurice Manning, author of Railsplitter

Trap Street is a map of vanishing dreams, true to the country as it struggles to exist. Yet the person who inhabits these poems has dignified the writing of them with real care and an ear for the elevated vernacular. His declaration that "Earth's everything I am" runs through every page of the book, mordant, restless, and abiding.

-David Mason, 2019 Able Muse Book Award judge, author of The Sound

"Not everything must have some cosmic meaning." That is the sort of red-wheelbarrow faith Will Cordeiro depends on as his adventurous eye records the variegated appearance of the natural and manmade world, no detail too small to merit commemoration. The scholastic philosopher Duns Scotus cited the "haecceitas" ("this-ness") of observed experience as one component in the quest for the divine, so there is every reason to regard Cordeiro's poems as bridging the gap between life's overlooked detritus and exalted vision itself. And visual acuity here is matched by a strenuous verbality, color-coordinated vowels informing chewable consonants in a lexicon ranging from "cattywampus" to "glumes" to "blear." It's a pied-beauty diction and syntax that remind me of Hopkins and Marianne Moore. We should all join in welcoming Will Cordeiro's amazing debut.

-Alfred Corn, author of The Poem's Heartbeat


Will Cordeiro has work published in Agni, Best New Poets, the Cincinnati Review, Copper Nickel, the Offing, DIAGRAM, Poetry Northwest, Threepenny Review, THRUSH Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Will coedits the small press Eggtooth Editions and is grateful for a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, a scholarship from Sewanee Writers' Conference, and a Truman Capote Writer's Fellowship, as well as residencies from ART 342, Blue Mountain Center, Ora Lerman Trust, Petrified Forest National Park, and Risley Residential College. Will received an MFA and PhD from Cornell University. Will is also coauthor of Experimental Writing: A Writer's Guide and Anthology, forthcoming from Bloomsbury. Currently, Will lives in Flagstaff and teaches in the Honors College at Northern Arizona University.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781773490571
ISBN-10: 1773490575
Publisher: Able Muse Press
Publication Date: August 27th, 2021
Pages: 130
Language: English