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