Teen Poetry Collections

The Natural To My Beauty

These sample poems were written by teenagers in King County Juvenile Detention in Seattle during the 2015-16 school year. The young people express themselves on a variety of themes, including horrific abuse, neglect by alcoholic parents, the sacrifices made to feed addiction, Native American identity, resilience and much more. 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 Emily Holt (project leader), Emily Caris (assistant project leader), Phaedra Pascoe, Kathleen Levine, and Christy Abram.

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


I Am Made From


Fallen Angel

Wake Up

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