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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid