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Resiliency: The Golden Thread

*Adapted from a blog I wrote as a Pongo Publishing mentor in collaboration with Seattle Public Library - April 2013 (part 4 of 4).

In the previous three blogs about the Pongo Teen Writing Project, I discussed major themes our young poets tend to write about - loss, family, and trauma. In this last blog I want to discuss the golden thread, a precious commonality that connects all the difficult experiences teens write about. This golden thread is the beauty that adorns what was lost with what was gained, mends memories of sorrow with patches of hope, and binds terrible experiences with powerful truths that unfold from hearts of writers, to pens and paper, to readers everywhere. This golden thread is resilience. In its most basic form, resilience is our will to live despite our hardships. Resilience is our natural and healthy drive to advocate for ourselves, and others, something young poets are exceptionally gifted at doing because they know they have things to say, and they say it. (Have you ever been to a slam poetry night?!) Anyone who writes from their heart is listening to and honoring their unique experiences, perspectives, and voice. Anyone who writes from the heart is resilient.

The Pongo Teen Writing Project is dedicated to teaching youth how to continue to advocate for themselves with the transportable tools of pen and paper, encouraging them to write whenever and wherever, especially when life is difficult. And now through the Pongo website ( we are reaching teens all over the world. Each poem we receive, whether unsolicited through the website or face-to-face with teens at our many project sites, is an invitation to connect through real stories of confusion, joy, anger, and sadness. They write because they are compelled to share, and they share because they have a will to live despite their hardships. They are all connected by a golden thread.

Some writing activities that help bring out resilience during difficult times are “I Am” and “Strength”.

Thanks again for being curious about our work and the teens’ poetry! And as we say at Pongo, "Keep writing!"

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