News / USA

Texas Poet Finds Inspiration in Police Work

Texas Poet Finds Inspiration in Police Worki
X
October 29, 2013 9:48 PM
Police are not generally known for their genteel manners and skill at creating metaphors. But many cops, as police officers are known, have written books influenced by their law enforcement work. Still, you don't find many award-winning poets among them and not all that many females. VOA's Greg Flakus tells us about a woman in Houston, Texas, who has made her way both as a cop and a lyric poet.
Greg Flakus
Police are not generally known for their genteel manners and skill at creating metaphors.  But many cops, as  police officers are known, have written books influenced by their law enforcement work.  Still, you don't find many award-winning poets among them and not all that many females.  A woman in Houston, Texas has made her way both as a cop and a lyric poet.

Sarah Cortez draws a crowd to hear poems that touch on everything from sex, love and food to dating fellow police officers.

"Your first cop boyfriend, your first handgun.  No one else believed in your calling to wear a badge and police the streets," said Sarah Cortez.

Sarah Cortez had her law-enforcement calling 20 years ago.  And she still works in uniform as a part-time reserve officer at the Harris County constable's precinct four office.

Her experience as a cop is often reflected in her books of poetry and the anthologies she has edited.

"I want to reveal the world of policing, the very complex, dangerous and dirty world it is, for my reader," she said.

"They knew she must have wanted to miss; ain't [it is not] that hard to kill someone," she read from one of her books.

Her gritty reality and sometimes dark humor appeal to readers like Melodie Rodriguez.

"The subject that she talks about is very deep and very serious, but she has a spin on it,  the humor that she brings to it, so it shows so many different facets," said Rodriguez.

When she teaches creative writing, Cortez stresses the benefits of experiencing something far removed from academic life.

"It is absolutely essential to have life experience and work experience and then bring your poetic sensibility or your poet's eye to whatever that is," she said.

At home with her husband Gabe, a former firefighter, Sarah Cortez often reflects on experiences that have stayed with her.

She wrote one poem about helping to remove the body of an old woman who had died in her home all alone.

"Her cat pacing through rooms, pushing heavy doors open.  Mute...The scenes I did not see a week earlier when my own mom died," read Cortez.

She says details are important in poems and in police work.

“One of the most crucial qualities in terms of solving your cases is that you have to pay a lot of attention to detail," she said.

Police work has provided Sarah Cortez with plenty of details about people who find themselves in a bad situation.

"As a poet you are trying to extract the purest essence of what you perceive that situation meant," said Cortez.

Because of her writing, Sarah Cortez is in big demand as a public speaker, a teacher and an editor.

But she continues working part time at precinct four, where she finds inspiration as well as personal fulfillment.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid