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


Video about Pongo in Juvie:
This video was filmed inside King County Juvenile Detention, where Richard explains Pongo's mission. 

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

AND 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: A Discussion of Poetry as Therapy 
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 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]


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!