Speaking Volumes 2023

Speaking Volumes 2023

Join us for an unforgettable evening celebrating the transformative capacity of poetry to spark healing and growth.

Thursday, September 21, 2023
2931 1st Ave S Suite A, Seattle, WA 98134

6:30pm 8pm

Pongo Poetry Project 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. Speaking Volumes 2023 is your opportunity to join us in making that vision a reality.

Purchase Your Tickets

Pongo is welcoming three talented Pacific Northwest poets to Speaking Volumes 2023: WA State Poet Laureate Arianne True; Seattle Civic Poet Shin Yu Pai; and Cave Canem Fellow Quenton Baker. The event will feature a panel discussion including these esteemed poets, the voices of Pongo youth authors, and stories of impact from across our history.

Tickets for Speaking Volumes 2023 are available for $50. All ticket and donation proceeds will fuel our healing poetry programming serving incarcerated and systems-involved youth.

To purchase titles authored by, or featuring our special guests, visit our friends at the Elliott Bay Book Company:

If cost of registration is a financial barrier to entry please contact Nebeu Shimeles (nebeu@pongopoetryproject.org). 

Can't make it to Speaking Volumes? Consider donating to our poetry programming, that supports the mental and emotional well-being of young people.
More About Our Featured Guests

Arianne True (Choctaw, Chickasaw) is a queer poet and teaching artist from Seattle, and has spent most of her work time working with youth. She’s received fellowships and residencies from Jack Straw, the Hugo House, Artist Trust, and the Seattle Repertory Theater, and is a proud alum of Hedgebrook and of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She lives in Burien with her cat. Arianne is the 2023-2025 Washington State Poet Laureate. Learn more on ArtsWA’s website and follow her on Instagram at @wapoetlaureate.

Shin Yu Pai is currently Civic Poet of Seattle (2023-2024). She the author of 11 books, including most recently Virga (Empty Bowl, 2021). She is the recipient of awards from the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture, and The Awesome Foundation. She is a 2022 Artist Trust Fellow and was shortlisted in 2014 for a Stranger Genius Award in Literature. From 2015 to 2017, Shin Yu served as Poet Laureate for The City of Redmond. Her writing has appeared in Atlas Obscura, Tricycle Magazine, YES! Magazine, NYTimes, Zocalo Public Square, Seattle Met, ParentMap, Seattle’s Child, International Examiner, and South Seattle Emerald. Her work has appeared in publications throughout the U.S., Japan, China, Taiwan, the UK, and Canada.

Shin Yu is the writer, host, and producer of Ten Thousand Things – a chart-topping podcast on Asian American stories for KUOW Public Radio, Seattle’s NPR affiliate station. New books are forthcoming in 2023 from Empty Bowl Press and Blue Cactus Press.

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 the forthcoming ballast (Haymarket Books, 2023).

Event Details


Speaking Volumes 2023 will take place at Metropolist, an event space in the SoDO neighborhood of Seattle. Pongo’s event will take place on the first floor of Metropolist, which is fully ADA accessible.

Dress Code: Business Casual 

Light appetizers and drinks will be provided. Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten-free options will be available.

There is ample free street parking on First Ave S as well as many paid and unpaid lots conveniently located in the neighborhood. Please be sure to obey all parking signage. All establishments surrounding Metropolist are able to tow at a moment’s notice. And at no time is it acceptable for vehicles to be parked in front of the fire hydrant behind Metropolist.

Public Transit
If using Metro Transit, Metropolist is accessible via the 21 and 50 bus lines. And if using Link Light Rail, the venue is a 10 minute walk from the SoDo station.

Special Consideration
At the request of a key event participant, we ask attendees to avoid using strong fragrances.




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