Writing Activities

Well-Versed: Pongo Poets Online
26,000 Writers & Counting

Well-Versed: Pongo Poets Online is our online poetry submission program. We encourage youth writers (up to age 25) to use the writing activities available on this website to write poetry, and if you’re willing to, share your poetry with us.

Write Poetry At Home

We understand if you prefer not to share your poetry with us. If you’d like to write poetry on your own, we encourage you to download any of the following writing activities:

Write & Share Poetry with Pongo: From Your Browser

You can complete the five writing activities below right from your browser and share your completed poems with Pongo. Or you can use the Blank Activity Page to create something all your own.

We will respond to each author with positive feedback. Plus, with your permission, your piece may be selected for republishing!

Disclaimer

Due to the capacity of Pongo staff, we kindly request that you submit *no more than 3 poems for review* at any one time. And while Pongo staff are excited to read your poetry, we are not trained mental health professionals. Pongo is not able to provide clinical diagnoses or mental health treatment recommendations.

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Meet Your Well-Versed Reviewer: Ann Teplick (she/her)

Ann Teplick is a cherished member of the Pongo community, who has served as a youth poetry mentor, a Project Leader, a trainer, and an ambassador for our work. Every poem submitted to Pongo through Well-Versed is reviewed by Ann, who engages each piece with her characteristic thoughtfulness and careful eye, and responds to each author with her feedback and encouragement. Learn more about Ann below!

I am a poet, playwright, prose writer, and teaching artist, who, for the last twenty-five years has written with youth in hospitals, psychiatric units, juvenile detention centers, hospice centers, public schools, and arts non-profits. Since 2011, I’ve been one of the two writers-in-residence at Seattle Children’s Hospital, through Seattle Arts and Lectures’ Writers in the Schools Program. Since 2000, I’ve worked as a teaching artist at Coyote Central, an art center for middle school youth.

I come from story. I believe each of us has important stories to tell and that art is the perfect vehicle to express them. I know when we do, we have the opportunity to better understand ourselves and our worlds. I believe when we share our stories, we open the doors for others to better understand who we are. And that this understanding opens the door to kindness and compassion. For me, elevating youth voices is critical, and especially the voices of those who may be overlooked.

I’ve been working with Pongo since 2000, first, as a volunteer for two years, then, as the Project Lead at King County Juvenile Detention (2002-2005 – now, The Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center), and the Child Study Treatment Center (2005-2020). I met Pongo’s Founder Richard Gold in 1998 at the Bumbershoot Arts Festival in Seattle and became a member of his first training cohort in 2000.

There are many poets I adore. On the top of my list is Andrea Gibson ~ poet, writer, author, performer, activist, all-around human dynamo who continues to make me cry. Check them out here. 

Favorite poem of theirs? Way too many, but here is one I continue to come back to: “Acceptance Speech After Setting the World Record in Goosebumps”

Want to continue your writing and/or artistic journey? Take advantage of these opportunities!​

Join a Youth Drop-In Writing Circle at Hugo House!

On a recurring basis, Hugo House convenes free, drop-in writing circles that give young writers of all ages the space to explore their creativity, dive deeper into ongoing projects, share their work in a supportive space, and make friends!

Writing circles are offered at different suggested grade ranges to connect young writers with their peers, though Hugo House encourages all young people to pick the writing circle that feels best for them:

  • Kids Write-In: Grades K-5
  • Just Write!: Grades 6-8
  • Write Time for Teens: Grades 9-12

We highly encourage you to take advantage of this amazing opportunity, and join Hugo House’s next youth drop-in writing circle. Some writing circles are available virtually, so visit Hugo House’s website for details on upcoming events!

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