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#WritersServe Pongo Poetry Project at #AWP23

For #AWP23, we’re giving back to the Seattle community by partnering with Pongo Poetry Project for #WritersServe. To aid Pongo Poetry Project in their mission to “engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth,” we will be collecting composition notebooks and writing anonymous letters of encouragement. Be sure to read the guidelines in "Encouraging Messages to Pongo Poets" before writing your letter, and please ensure that any notebooks you bring for donation are standard-woven or sewn composition books free of staples, metals, and spiral rings. Pongo Poetry Project will then distribute these materials to youth participants at its various care sites.

If you are flying into the conference and wish to travel light, composition books will be available for purchase at Third Place Books, the #AWP23 official bookseller. Pongo Poetry Project will have their own booth located by the entrance of the #AWP23 Bookfair with representatives from the organization. When you arrive at the bookfair, make sure you stop by to learn more about Pongo Poetry Project and their mission and outreach!

More about Pongo Poetry Project:

Pongo Poetry Project is a Seattle-based nonprofit that uses personal poetry to facilitate healing among youth coping with devastating traumas. Our mission is to engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth.

At the heart of our program is the Pongo Method, a trauma-informed technique for teaching poetry, created in consultation with psychiatrists and researchers from the University of Washington. Pongo’s approach offers youth a safe, gratifying way to express feelings about some of the worst experiences imaginable, including abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence.

Pongo has mentored poetry with over 6,600 individuals. Research and evaluation demonstrate the significant therapeutic benefits of our programming and high levels of satisfaction among the youth we serve. Through Ignite Pongo —our training series on the Pongo Method—we equip educators, clinicians, and community leaders with the knowledge and skills to create trauma-informed writing programs based on our approach. As a result, ninety-five therapeutic poetry programs based on our model and supporting people who have experienced trauma, have been established in communities across the world. And through our publishing program, we have released sixteen poetry collections featuring work authored by the youth we serve.