POEM OF THE WEEK
In "Memories," a young man, age 13, describes how he changed after he was shot when he was 10 years old. He carries a gun and feels inclined to violence. He writes: "Until this day / I still feel like a maniac / in my brain / I don't know the way to act / though I feel like I can change."
Lessons of Courage and Fear
In this poem you can write about some of the most difficult things that happened to you, including what you learned from them. [ WRITE ]
In this poem you can write about yourself. What are the colors, qualities, and dreams that represent you? [WRITE ]
Letter After a Time
In this poem you can write to someone important to you who died. You can imagine the words you never had a chance to say. [WRITE ]
Walk One Mile in My Shoes
In this poem you can write about what it feels like to be hurt by immature or cruel people, maybe because of your sexual orientation or gender identity. [ WRITE ]
Help for Teachers and Counselors!
Richard's book WRITING WITH AT-RISK YOUTH: THE PONGO TEEN WRITING METHOD will be out in February from Rowman & LIttlefield Education. It explains how youth are affected by trauma, how poetry helps, how to start a writing project, and how to teach distressed youth to write personal poetry, both individually and in groups. READ MORE. The book is available for PRE-ORDER.
PONGO MAKES NEWS
Video about Pongo in Juvie:
This video was filmed inside King County Juvenile Detention, where Richard explains Pongo's mission.
MORE Video: KING5 News on Pongo Working Inside Juvie
A dramatic, in-depth STORY about Pongo's work in juvie, from KING5 (NBC) in Seattle. Creative and sensitive production. Won an Emmy!
AND MORE Video: Pongo Video from Mayor's Arts Award
A Pongo STORY, including wonderful poets, that was prepared for Mayor's Art Awards by Reel Grrls.
HI, TEENS! Hello, counselors and teachers! The Pongo Teen Writing Project is a volunteer, nonprofit program for teens who are on the streets, in jail, or in other ways leading difficult lives. We love to help young people express themselves through poetry, especially teens who have never written before. (And we want to share our teaching techniques with caring adults.) This site is dedicated to our authors!
Read Pongo's blog
Sharing stories of our work with teens
Pongo's blog is about the significance of expressing deeply felt pain in poetry - including the resilience that this writing represents, the healing that it allows, and the joy that it inspires. Some recent blog topics are Where I Come From, The Benefits of Writing Poetry, and Colors of Our Lives. [READ]
Pongo is place to express yourself
Teens, here you can WRITE FROM THE HEART about who you are as a person. You don’t have to be an experienced writer to create Pongo poetry. We appreciate the importance of what you have to say. Honesty is the quality we value most. Check out the Pongo writing activities, choose a topic, and give it a try. You might win Pongo's quarterly $100 Pongo Prize! For inspiration, check out all the serious poetry by other teens!
For Counselors and Teachers
How to use the Pongo website
Counselors and teachers, we want this web site to be a resource for you, as well as the teens. The many writing activities can be downloaded. The teen poems can be shared, as encouragement to new writers and as topics for meaningful discussion. The site gives an overview of Pongo’s methods and offers trainings. We'd like to hear from you and offer our support!