In "Mom Did It with an Alien," a young man, age 13, describes his abusive dad as an alien monster, but he includes humor in the description. His poem has a brave ending: "I don't know what my mom was thinking / But I can't be too ungrateful / I'm here, aren't I / Life may suck, but I love life / I love living."


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 is now available 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. ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

Resource > WritingAtRiskYouthrev4.jpg by: rich


This Emmy-winning story from KING5-TV represents the emotional power and joy in Pongo’s poetry program inside juvenile detention.

MORE Video: PBS NewsHour and U.S. Poet Laureate visit Pongo
PBS NewsHour STORY of Pongo, healing, and unexpected happiness. With Jeffrey Brown and U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey.

AND MORE Video: Richard explains Pongo's work
VIDEO about Pongo from Microsoft Alumni Foundation.Created when Richard was named a Microsoft Integral Fellow in recognition of this work.

AND MORE Video: "CityStream" reports on Pongo inside juvie
STORY about Pongo from The Seattle Channel.

AND MORE Video: A discussion of Pongo poetry as therapy for youth
A Richard INTERVIEW with parenting expert Annie Fox.

AND MORE Video: Pongo video from Mayor's Arts Award 
A Pongo STORY, including wonderful poets, that was prepared for Mayor's Arts Award presentation (video 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]


Welcome, Teens!

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!