A Poet's Double Life

For poets working outside the literary world.

My Favorite Writing Spaces in the Triangle


The DRX – The Triangle Transit bus also known as the Durham Express. I commute daily from Durham Station to downtown Raleigh almost every day. When I was in my MFA program, writing on the bus was the only time I had to write. Since graduating, I continue the tradition—always carrying a journal and pen in my purse or just typing a note on my iPhone.

Straw Valley Café (5420 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham)– Located in the oddest place for a café. This space was designed by architects, which makes it a great place to be creative. There are two houses with lovely chairs and glass tables if you want to stay indoors and ample space to sit outside (the courtyard is fabulous!). 

Walter Royal Davis Library (UNC Chapel Hill) – aka the Poet’s Gym. The library is the home to my writing room and the best collection of poetry books and literary journals in the South. The best place to write is in the periodicals section on the 1st floor. After a recent redesign, the space has ample couches, chairs, and outlets so you can stare out the large picture windows without running out of power. One drawback, you’ll have to go the 8th floor for the poetry books.  

Public Libraries – That’s what libraries are for y’all. So if you haven’t been to one of the libraries in Durham County, Wake County, or Chapel Hill, you haven’t been maximizing your tax dollars. My favorites in Durham are Southwest Regional (3605 Shannon Road) and South (4505 S. Alston Avenue). If I’m hanging out in Raleigh after work, I’ll inevitably find myself at Cameron Village.

Other Places To Try

All the places I’ve listed have free Wi-Fi (even the bus)! Let me hear about your favorites to write by leaving a comment.

Author: poetsdoublelife

Poet and strategy/data guru living in Massachusetts.

14 thoughts on “My Favorite Writing Spaces in the Triangle

  1. I’m a Cary/Raleigh gal. Best places I’ve found are Helios on Glenwood (great coffee and food, and wine too!) especially in patio-appropriate weather, Cup-a-Joe in Mission Valley (also great coffee, smoothies, and pretty good sammiches) and its patio.

    Gotta have a patio!

    • Ah yes, Helios! I don’t like hanging out in downtown Raleigh too much after work, but Helios is definitely a great place. And I didn’t know there was a Cup of Joe in Mission Valley. I’ve seen the one on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh (from the DRX bus), but it seemed so small. The MV location might warrant a field trip. Thanks for your suggestions!

  2. If you like the coffee at Open Eye, I’d suggest their sister store on E. Franklin, Caffe Driade. The coffee is great and the atmosphere, decks and a terrace built into a hill, is amazing during the spring and fall. Their wi-fi costs money, which I think is a plus–if I’m writing, I shouldn’t be on the internet anyway and I’m way too cheap to allow myself the internet. Here is a picture of some of their tables in the garden that doesn’t do the space justice; it’s magical. http://lh5.ggpht.com/-RBkrv6H6wcw/R2OFoVnQf3I/AAAAAAAAHCg/aZJhH7iDOHI/IMG_0588.JPG

    • Pierre–you’re absolutely right about Caffe Driade in the spring and fall. I’ve been there several times to meet with friends and keep meaning to explore the trails hidden behind it. The popularity of the place makes parking somewhat of a challenge, though. And I have to disagree with you about using Wi-Fi when writing. I view the Internet as a resource, especially when I’m looking for the right word or researching a topic or theme for a poem based upon an extended metaphor. It’s not practical to lug a dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedia around anymore––bad for the back and knees. 😉

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