Friday, March 22, 2013

Police Poets

Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry.
~Muriel Rukeyser

Law enforcement officers deal with a lot. All that experience can wind up generating a lot of poetry.

This first poem probably should come with a tissue warning. Consider yourself warned!

A PG-13 poem by police officer Harry Fagel:


* Poet cops bring together worlds of poetry, law enforcement by Eric Hartley
* Poetry in the Community: The Police Poetry Project by Annie Finch
* Off the Cuffs: Poetry by and about the Police edited by Jackie Sheeler
* Everything Matters: Poetry and the Police Department by Martin Steingesser
* Sometimes A Police Story Begins With A Poem
* Poetry from a Police Blotter
* Poem to My Arresting Officer
* Poetry and the Police by Robert Darnton, book review by PD Smith
* Rattle's Tribute to Law Enforcement Poets
* Poetry for Probation
* Fred Astaire and Betty Davis, a poem by Betty Davis from Rattle's Tribute issue
* Retired police officer publishes poems dedicated to his wife
* Police Poetry Calendar, Portland, ME


Greg is our Poetry Friday host at GottaBook


Author Amok said...

Hi, Tabatha. I only made it through the first video. I had no idea that a police poetry initiative existed, but it's an important idea. These officers need an outlet for coping with the things they must see and do. I'll come back later to check out each of the links (thanks for being so thorough!)

Author Amok said...

Wow. Just listened to the Vegas poem. Whew.

jama said...

Oh wow. Who knew?

Both poems are fabulous -- the second reminds me of the Beat poets, the first, so heartwrenching. Inspiring to see how poetry can help them cope with some of difficult and challenging things they encounter on a regular basis.

Buffy Silverman said...

These are amazing. The "18-year camo then blue/18-month wearing black and blue" line left me with chills. Thanks for sharing them.

Ruth said...

Wow, amazing. Thanks for sharing these!

Linda B said...

After Robyn's post, I think I'd better pay attention to your links, Tabatha. Both videos are powerful, but the first, heartbreaking. I followed the first link about the police poet who is trying to get others to follow his lead, & who is writing for Rattle. So interesting. It reminds me of the farmers writing in Iowa. I think there's a journal they produce. Everyone could, maybe should try a little poetry. It made me sad to read that most only think they've had poetry in high school that is Frost, Wordsworth, etc. I know some are doing more, but they are also narrowed by the curriculums demanded (I guess.) Thanks for new thoughts!

Robyn Hood Black said...

So powerful. The "we cry inside" of the first and the "After a while you become immune to poison / Maybe you even crave it" of the last - great voice and performance there. I hand't heard of this initiative either, but it heartens me to see poetry shared in such an important way. Thanks for sharing with US!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

So, okay, you were right about the tissues...I will be thinking about this for some time. Heartbreaking, true, but all the more so because I know that this is all too common.

Mary Lee said...

I agree with Linda. Poetry is huge and personal and it grows out of every kind of experience. We need to do a better job making sure kids know that, so that poetry will be there for them, too, no matter where they go or who they are...