Children’s Poetry from the Psych Hospital
This is radio program is completely worth your time to hear the voices of the children/teens as they share their experiences in the hospital as well as working on their poetry. This recording is a testimonial to the power of poetry, the power of the poet in each person, and the power of volunteerism. The first 10 minutes is purely documentary, then followed by interviews with Gold and Storck. If you’ve ever considered creating or participating in this kind of writing program, this radio show will make you want to act.
From Richard Gold, founder of Pongo Teen Writing Program: “On April 1, KUOW radio did a beautiful story about Pongo’s poetry project at the state psychiatric hospital for children. The show represents so many things that are important to me — the voices of the kids, the challenges at the hospital, the value of poetry to emotional healing. And there were several surprises. The hospital arranged for a teen to call in, someone I had worked with seven years ago when he was 13. I hadn’t heard about him since. He talked about the effect of poetry on his life. Another surprise, I found out later, was that the hospital kids were all out of school, in the dining hall, listening to the radio show live, and cheering.”
From KUOW: “Somewhere near Tacoma, a few dozen kids live in garden cottages that are locked from the outside. Most of them have tried to take their own lives or hurt others, and they’ve all got disabling psychiatric conditions. They live apart from their families, many of them for more than a year, in Washington’s only children’s psychiatric long term care center. Everything, from the basketballs and bicycles to the isolation room, is part of the treatment. So is the poetry. Today we’ll tag along while children at the treatment center write poems, and we’ll talk about how writing works as therapy.”
Dr. Mick Storck is attending psychiatrist at the Child Study and Treatment Center and at Children’s Hospital in Seattle. He is assistant professor at the University of Washington’s medical school. One of his research interests is narrative therapy.
Richard Gold founded the Pongo Teen Writing Project in 1992. Pongo volunteers help teens in jail, psychiatric confinement and other difficult conditions write poetry. Richard is also a published poet.
Colby is a former resident a the Child Study and Treatment Center. His poem appeared in Pongo’s book No More Me.