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The Story of My Heart: Pongo Poetry from Child Study and Treatment Center

The Story of My Heart: Pongo Poetry from Child Study and Treatment Center - Ann Teplick

The Story of My Heart: Pongo Poetry from Child Study and Treatment Center


The Story of My Heart anthologizes 10 years of Pongo-facilitated poetry written with youth residents at Child Study & Treatment Center (CSTC). CSTC is Washington State's largest psychiatric hospital for teens and children. Pongo Poetry Project engages youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. Pongo's process particularly supports underserved communities and those who have a hard time expressing themselves. Our trained staff and volunteers establish writing projects inside juvenile detention centers, psychiatric hospitals, community behavioral health centers, and other sites. Our primary purpose is to provide a space for authors to understand their feelings, find their voices, and express their hope for a better future. For counselors, teachers, caregivers, and peer mentors, Pongo offers national trainings, free web resources, and a book about our methodology, Writing with At-Risk Youth: The Pongo Teen Writing Method by Richard Gold, Pongo's Founder.


"I believe in everything Pongo does. The happy contagion which springs from telling one's own true story, writing one's own thoughts, following the trail of imagination, continues to pass from person to person as a healing gift. Listen to these brave, beautiful voices and feel fortified on your own trail."

NAOMI SHIHAB NYE, Poetry Foundation's 2019-2021, Young People's Poet Laureate, Author of Cast Away: Poems of Our Time



"The poems in this collection are rich, authentic, and deeply resonant. Heartbreak, longing, fear, anger, love, perseverance, and hope wrestle for the upper hand as the youth at CSTC let the power of their experiences spill onto the page. Pongo has a 25-year history of eliciting powerful and inspiring poetry from youth who have experienced significant life challenges, and The Story of My Heart extends that tradition with great sensitivity, grace, and humanity."

KEVIN JONES, PhD, LCSW, Assistant Professor, Dorothy Day Social Work Program, Department of Sociology and Social Work, University of Portland


"My life is like a light flickering, no longer hiding in the dark," writes the poet Fiona. Hers is one of a chorus of remarkable voices in The Story of My Heart. With honesty and courage, these young writers tell of struggles with abuse, addiction, mental illness. And yet, the poems gathered here also speak of strength and resilience, a will to go on "even when life crumbles like broken bottles." The work of Pongo and programs like it is vital, a testament to the healing powers of poetry. The poet Sasha writes, "The story of my heart is so high and shiny, only eagles hear it. Deep and velvety-moles wear it tunneling home."

ELLEN BASS, MA, Poet, Editor, Author of Indigo; Co-author of The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse


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The Story of My Heart anthologizes 10 years of Pongo-facilitated poetry written with youth residents at Child Study & Treatment Center (CSTC). CSTC is Washington State's largest psychiatric hospital for teens and children. Pongo Poetry Project engages youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. Pongo's process particularly supports underserved communities and those who have a hard time expressing themselves. Our trained staff and volunteers establish writing projects inside juvenile detention centers, psychiatric hospitals, community behavioral health centers, and other sites. Our primary purpose is to provide a space for authors to understand their feelings, find their voices, and express their hope for a better future. For counselors, teachers, caregivers, and peer mentors, Pongo offers national trainings, free web resources, and a book about our methodology, Writing with At-Risk Youth: The Pongo Teen Writing Method by Richard Gold, Pongo's Founder.


"I believe in everything Pongo does. The happy contagion which springs from telling one's own true story, writing one's own thoughts, following the trail of imagination, continues to pass from person to person as a healing gift. Listen to these brave, beautiful voices and feel fortified on your own trail."

NAOMI SHIHAB NYE, Poetry Foundation's 2019-2021, Young People's Poet Laureate, Author of Cast Away: Poems of Our Time



"The poems in this collection are rich, authentic, and deeply resonant. Heartbreak, longing, fear, anger, love, perseverance, and hope wrestle for the upper hand as the youth at CSTC let the power of their experiences spill onto the page. Pongo has a 25-year history of eliciting powerful and inspiring poetry from youth who have experienced significant life challenges, and The Story of My Heart extends that tradition with great sensitivity, grace, and humanity."

KEVIN JONES, PhD, LCSW, Assistant Professor, Dorothy Day Social Work Program, Department of Sociology and Social Work, University of Portland


"My life is like a light flickering, no longer hiding in the dark," writes the poet Fiona. Hers is one of a chorus of remarkable voices in The Story of My Heart. With honesty and courage, these young writers tell of struggles with abuse, addiction, mental illness. And yet, the poems gathered here also speak of strength and resilience, a will to go on "even when life crumbles like broken bottles." The work of Pongo and programs like it is vital, a testament to the healing powers of poetry. The poet Sasha writes, "The story of my heart is so high and shiny, only eagles hear it. Deep and velvety-moles wear it tunneling home."

ELLEN BASS, MA, Poet, Editor, Author of Indigo; Co-author of The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse


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