David Cooke, Founder

Thanks for getting to know us! The first Poetry Box was built by David Cooke in 1985 in his father’s basement workshop. Poetry Boxes began as a place to store his poems and journal writing. Poetry Boxes transformed after a walk around a Portland neighborhood. David came across WB Yeats' When You Are Old  posted outside a neighbor's house. It made his day. He realized he could share his poems and the poems that inspire him with his neighbors and eventually the world. Really, what global innovation doesn’t start in a neighborhood?

Today, he and his team design and build a range of Poetry Boxes from the cedar Stafford to the mahogany Dickinson. The latest is a bamboo Poetry Box in honor of Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Gardens, the Li Bai.


Each Poetry Box is individually hand-crafted from fine woods selected for beauty, durability and sustainability. To accommodate our Northwest weather, our boxes are weather resistant to keep materials inside dry.

We looked to poets—from different eras, and from all over the globe—to inspire each unique piece. The results are tailored to reflect the author's style and sensibility.

Custom work is a specialty of ours, as well. Bring us your design, or talk to us about an idea you'd like to realize. We can incorporate materials of your choice to fit your unique vision, from hand-made tiles, to copper detailing, to vintage hardware. We're sure to create one together that celebrates your sense of style.


Arrived today—looks great! Be prepared for an avalanche of orders from Butte!!...We loooooove the box! 
— William & Marisa, Butte, MT

My poetry box was crafted with meticulous care to suit our Craftsman style home. My family enjoyed keeping it stocked with poems for joggers and dog walkers to read and enjoy. When we put our house up for sale our offer included a written request that the poetry box be included. Poetry boxes build community through shared literature AND sell houses! Five stars!
— Jennifer, Vancouver, WA

David, a established poet himself, crafts these boxes as he does his own poetry- with an intense love of the art, excruciating detail and the desire to delight and engage the reader.
—Kip, Portland OR

We love the poetry box! Having a box out here in the burbs is going to really shake things up. Can't wait to see what the neighbors say. David's craftsmanship is exquisite. The care in the wood, the design, and the construction is a poem in its own right. And we were pleased by the collection of beautifully formatted poems to get get us going on our new journey. This beautiful box will add character and love to our neighborhood. Thanks so much!
— Carrie-Ann & Dwayne, Portland, OR

Thank you, David. My wife, Corinne, loves the poetry box, and the surprise of coming home to find it exactly where she would have placed it if she ever would have gotten one. Love your poems too! As I said, we'll be referring anyone who asks about the box to you, and probably some others who we think might like one. It was great meeting, and being inspired by you. You're a truly gifted guy.

— Steve, Tigard, OR