Cold Blue Steel


 Finalist, 2014 Writer's League of Texas Poetry Award.

Finalist, 2015 Pen Southwest Poetry Award

COLD BLUE STEEL contains 50 lyric poems set in the world of the urban street cop in the nation's fourth largest metropolis, Houston. 

In the patrol car, at scenes of suicides and DOAs, in the overtime reality of aching feet and sweating torsos, the reader experiences the hard realities and unexpected luminosities of doing America's most dangerous job.

Sarah Cortez has almost 20 years of police experience, which was reflected in her first book of poetry, How to Undress a Cop (Arte Publico Press, 2000).  That book was shocking, sexy, and tough.Tempered by experience, Cold Blue Steel has more pathos and the stunning complexity of trying to do an impossible job.

Cold Blue Steel is segmented into three parts.Showing Rookies How it Quickly Happens speaks to hard-earned procedures Cortez wishes to impart to her rookies.At the same time, she ironically reflects on who will be promoted why or why not.The Inches That Matter to Me speaks to what keeps cops alive and to what kills them.Feeling Too Much, At Times reflects on the innocent victims, silent witnesses, and the necessary dependence on the dispatcher’s voice.Throughout, the reader experiences the hard realities and unexpected luminosities of doing America’s most dangerous job.

...Cortez provides a unique perspective on the front lines of law enforcement inHouston. In this, her second book of poetry, Cortez employs frank language in sharp lyrics charged with weary passion. From frustrating court proceedings to beat cops’ street patrols to locker room flirtation, her speakers express disdain for bureaucratic laziness, lust for fellow officers (and tatted-up criminals!), and fatigue after every autopsy. But Cortez enlivens her lines with a deft blend of rhythm and police shorthand, as when her speaker pities a “tall white-boy LT / assigned to Investigations / since he was too /incompetent / for Patrol.” Other poems exhibit an intriguing edge of hard-boiled noir and sense of duty in the face of futility. Elsewhere, Cortez brandishes a mean humor, as when the speaker of “Reported Dog Pack” finds herself in hot pursuit of a bitch in heat, a trio of male dogs panting close behind.
— — Diego Báez in Booklist, July 2013

Product Details

  • ISBN: 1937875024

  • ISBN-13: 978-1937875022

  • Format: Paperback: pages

  • Publisher: Texas Review Press

  • Pub. Date: April 2013

  • Edition Description:1st

Copyright © 2010-2013, Sarah Cortez Consulting, LLC. All rights reserved.