Teen Poetry Collections

Life Is a Dream with No Bed

These sample poems were written by teenagers in King County Juvenile Detention in Seattle during the 2011-12 school year. The young people express themselves on a variety of themes, including abuse at home, the importance of family, confusion in life, witnessing violence, love, addiction, loneliness, and hope. The teens in detention are awaiting trial or serving sentences for a variety of offenses, from running away and truancy, to prostitution, shoplifting, drug-dealing, and violent crimes.

Pongo has worked inside detention since 1998. The team of Pongo adult mentors who worked with these youth included Eli Hastings (project leader), Vanessa Hooper (assistant leader), Ron Rivard, and Fred Nollan.

These teen poems are great. And they are just a few of the great poems created during this Pongo writing project! Please enjoy the honesty, depth, and complexity of this work. (And please note that details within the poems have been changed to protect the teens’ confidentiality and their families' privacy.)

Selected Poems from This Collection

Happy Birthday
My Best Friend Was Murdered
Why Are You Blue?
We Came from Saudi Arabia
The Days I Miss
Dear Mom
Brother and Sister
A Good Day / A Bad Day (#2)
My Dad #3
Dear Family
When My Brother Got Shot
Nothing Will Bring Me Down
Coyote Ridge (Correctional Center)
Family #2
Metal on Metal
I'm Making a Moving Poem
The Thunder Is in the Past

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