Teen Poetry Collections

Until Life is Beautiful Once More...

 These poems are a sampling of the poems written by teens in Seattle’s King County Juvenile Detention during the 2016-17 school year. Each stanza bears witness to the power of youth voice and insight even in dire circumstances. Even as they are grasping to find self-worth, they are haunted by pasts defined by loss. Yet in these poignant, often painful utterances, youth writers decide to befriend their difficult feelings and learn from them. Powerful images bloom from these poems: empty fridges, an empty alley, an open field, a sea of roses, a circle of lost loved ones holding hands, smiles as big as the sun.  Please enjoy their words in all their emotional complexity, honesty, and courage.

The teens in detention are awaiting trial or serving sentences for a variety of offenses such as prostitution, shoplifting, drug-dealing, and violent crimes. Pongo has worked inside detention since 1998. The team of Pongo adult mentors who helped these youth produce these poems included Eli Hastings, Sara Jones, Natalie Singer-Velush, Becky Sherman, Amani Carithers and Emily Caris (Project Lead).

The Pongo Teen Writing Project is grateful to its many kind supporters, including the City of Seattle, Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, which has generously provided Youth Arts grants to Pongo’s project at King County juvenile detention since 2007.Resource > SeattleOfficeArtsCulturelogoreduced2.jpg by:

Note* Details within the poems have been changed to protect the teens’ confidentiality and their families' privacy.

Selected Poems from this year’s collection:

Chicago on the South Side

Home Vs. Juvenile

Mi Familia

Dear Dad

A Sea of Red