Jayne Cortez (United States of America)

Por: Jayne Cortez

Latinoamerican Poetry Magazine
84-85. July 2008.


Find your own voice


Find your own voice & use it
use your own voice & find it

The sounds of drizzle
on dry leaves are not
like sounds of insults
between pedestrians

Those women laughing
in the window
do not sound like
air conditioners on the brink

The river turtle
does not breathe like
a slithering boa constrictor

The roar of a bull
is not like
the cackle of a hyena

The growl of a sea-leopard
is not like the teething cry
of a baby

The slash of a barracuda
is not like
the gulp of a leaping whale

The speech of a tiger shark
is not like
the bark of an eagle-fish

The scent of a gardenia
is not like the scent of a tangerine

Find your own voice & use it
use your own voice & find it


Natalia Rendón

Jayne Cortez was born in Arizona, grew up in California, and lives in New York City.  She is the author of ten books of poems and performer of her poetry with music on nine recordings.  Her voice is celebrated for its political, surrealistic, dynamic innovations in lyricism, and visceral sound.  Cortez has presented her work and ideas at universities, museums, and festivals in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, the Caribbean and the United States.  Her poems have been translated into many languages and widely published in anthologies, journals, and magazines.  She is the recipient of several awards including: Arts International, the National Endowment for the Arts, the International African Festival Award, The Langston Hughes Award, and the American Book Award. Her most recent books are "The Beautiful Book" Bola Press 2007, “Jazz Fan Looks Back” published by Hanging Loose Press, and “Somewhere In Advance of Nowhere” published by Serpent’s Tail Ltd. Her latest CD recordings with the Firespitter Band are “Taking the Blues Back Home,” produced by Harmolodic and by Verve Records, “Borders of Disorderly Time” and " Find Your Own Voice" released by Bola Press. Cortez is director of the films “Yari Yari: Black Women Writers and the Future,” and "Yari Yari Pamberi: Black Women Writers Dissecting Globalization.  She is president of the Organization of Women Writers of Africa, Inc. and is on screen in the films: “Women In Jazz” and “Poetry In Motion.”

Última actualización: 04/09/2021