The Pongo Publishing Teen Writing Project is a volunteer, nonprofit effort with Seattle teens who are in jail, on the streets, or in other ways leading difficult lives. We help these young people express themselves through poetry and other forms of writing and publish annual anthologies of their work. This site is dedicated to them.


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!

Featured Activities

Home to Me

In this poem you can use your senses to evoke your childhood home or imagine the home you’d like to have.

[ Write ]    

I Am Old and New

This poem allows you to reflect on change and possibility.  

[ Write ]




Poem Of The Week

Did Any of Them Ever Hear?

A young woman struggling to be heard and known: "I was just another damaged face / without a name."  


[ Read Poem ]


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!

Seattle Trainings  

Join us on October 24th!

Pongo would like to share our techniques for facilitating therapeutic poetry. Please register here for an upcoming training in Seattle. 

National Visits and Trainings  

Pongo in Your City!

Pongo is supporting writing projects around the country by offering Presentations and Trainings in our mission and methods.


Read More, Get Involved

Sharing our work with the community

You can read about Pongo's outcomes , including surveys of Pongo writers. You can find out how to volunteer or to donate . You can find out how to start your own Pongo-inspired project . We always have some cool news, like the visit to Pongo in juvie by famous rapper Macklemore . You can buy books of Pongo teen poetry. Pongo's blog is about the significance of expressing deeply felt pain in poetry  -  including the resilience that this writing represents.

Book on Pongo's Method

"Writing with At-Risk Youth"

Pongo's founder, Richard Gold, has written a book about Pongo's method for facilitating poetry with young people (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2014). A great resource! Available online, including through Amazon. Please check out the editorial reviews!