Healing Verses 2024

Healing Verses 2024

Celebrate National Poetry Month with Pongo this April!

Wednesday April 10th, 2024
The Cloud Room
1424 11th Ave Ste 400, Seattle, WA 98122
5:30pm – 8pm

Purchase Your Tickets
About Healing Verses

On Wednesday April 10th, Pongo is thrilled to host Healing Verses 2024, a night full of readings, discussion, and community, honoring the healing power of poetry writing and self-expression. And Pongo is excited to welcome three incredible poets to the event, including: former WA Poet Laureate Rena Priest; Seattle Youth Poet Laureate, Mateo Acuña; and Cave Canem fellow Quenton Baker.

Tickets for Healing Verses are available for $30. All ticket and donation proceeds will fuel our healing poetry programming serving incarcerated and systems-involved youth.

Healing Verses promises to be a special evening, and it will be the perfect opportunity to learn more about Pongo’s therapeutic poetry programming, and how you can join us in supporting youth mental health through creative expression.

Can't make it to Healing Verses? Consider donating to our poetry programming that supports the mental and emotional well-being of young people.
Event Details



Complimentary light appetizers will be provided, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The event will feature a full bar with cocktails, beer, wine, and NA options, all available for purchase.

Parking/Public Transit

The Cloud Room is located in Capitol Hill. For details on parking and public transit options, check out this handy guide they’ve put together.

More About Our Featured Guests


Rena Priest is an enrolled member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. She served as the 6th Washington State Poet Laureate (2021-2023) and was named the 2022 Maxine Cushing Gray Distinguished Writing Fellow. Priest is also the recipient of an Allied Arts Foundation Professional Poets Award and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, Indigenous Nations Poets, Nia Tero, and the Vadon Foundation. Her debut collection, Patriarchy Blues, received an American Book Award. Her second collection, Sublime Subliminal, was published as the finalist for the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. Her most recent book, Northwest Know-How: Beaches, includes poems, retellings of legends, and fun descriptions of 29 of the most beloved beaches in the Pacific Northwest. Priest’s nonfiction has appeared in High Country News, YES! Magazine, Seattle Met, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.


Mateo Acuña is a Peruvian-American multimedia artist, composer, and creative writer best known for their poetry. They are the 2023-2024 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate and the 2024-2026 Auburn Poet Laureate. At twenty, they are the youngest poet laureate of the five in Auburn’s history, as well as the first who identifies as transgender, gay, and/or a person of color. Using their platform to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion is a crucial part of what they do as a creative, not only in their programming as Auburn Poet Laureate but in their writing as well. You can find a sample of their poetry on Auburn’s website. In June 2024, Mateo’s debut collection of poetry will be released at Elliot Bay Book Company. In the same month, their twenty-minute debut opera Blood Dawn of the Inti Sun will premiere at Tagney Jones Hall. You can sign up for Mateo’s newsletter, where they send monthly news about upcoming programs, performances and publications here.


Quenton Baker is a poet, educator, and Cave Canem fellow. Their current focus is black interiority and the afterlife of slavery. Their work has appeared in The Offing, Jubilat, Vinyl, The Rumpus and elsewhere. They are a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and the recipient of the 2018 Arts Innovator Award from Artist Trust. They were a 2019 Robert Rauschenberg Artist in Residence and a 2021 NEA Fellow. They are the author of we pilot the blood (The 3rd Thing, 2021) and most recently, ballast (Haymarket Books, 2023).

About Pongo

Pongo Poetry Project’s mission is to engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. Pongo exists to support the mental well-being of young people coping with childhood trauma while confined to institutions, such as prisons and psychiatric hospitals. We envision a world where all youth who have experienced childhood trauma can be seen, heard, and affirmed in their full humanity; where youth have the support, resources, and tools they need to heal, grow, and lead dignified lives.


Follow @pongopoetry on Instagram