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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More