Poetry Postbox - Atlas Obscura

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Poetry Postbox

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

A ceramic postbox where visitors can post original poems and creative messages. 

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Sequestered in a corner of Glasgow’s Botanical Garden, outside the Tearoom cafe, stands a rather unusual feature that might go unnoticed. In the sprawling, nearly 40 acres of gardens, some of which date back to the mid-19th century, is a common everyday item one might encounter on the street.

Fashioned in the style of a red pillar postbox is a facsimile made entirely of fired stoneware and decorated with whimsical childlike depictions of flora and fauna. An inscription on the ceramic postbox reads: “Please post your poems here.” The inscription is also repeated in brail lettering. Visitors to the gardens are encouraged to submit poems through the mail slot on the box. 

A local theater actor and writer, Stewart Ennis, came up with the idea for the Poetry Postbox. He envisioned the receptacle as a way to engage young people in creative writing. 

The postbox was created by Scottish artist Julia Smith in 2007. She is a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, where she studied ceramics. She now lives in the Highlands of Scotland. The work incorporates vintage-style pottery along with clay creatures that one might encounter while working in the garden.

The first posted poem was written by a girl appropriately named Flora, who now, over a decade later, is a primary school teacher. She wrote a piece entitled, “Last night in the park I saw.”

Last night in the park saw,

A crocodile with a wonky jaw.

I asked him if he was ok,

He answered, ‘yes, now I’m going to play’.

Last night in the park saw,

A man telling someone about the law,

He said it was great, that he should give it a go.

Only then did I realize he was talking to a Crow.

Know Before You Go

The gardens are free to enter and operate from 7 a.m. until dusk all year around. Hours may vary around bank and other holidays.

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October 10, 2023

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