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The Hustle

Name: Maureen McDole (Keep St. Pete Lit)

Posted By Joe Hamilton

Poet Maureen McDole is a St. Pete native and descendant of the early settlers of John's Pass. In five years she has taken Keep St. Pete Lit from a rag-tag band of book junkies to one of the state's premier literary organizations, built through focused programming and smart partnerships. She has published two collections of poetry and was the 2016 recipient of the St. Petersburg Art Alliance’s prestigious MUSE Award for Literary Arts.

Years in Tampa Bay


Hustle (job)

Poet/Executive Director and Founder of Keep St. Pete Lit

What do you do?  

I strive to expand the literary arts in St. Petersburg (and beyond), through education, collaborations, readings, and creative events. I write poetry for performance and the page. I am the mother of an 11 yeard old daughter.

Why do you do it?

Reading and writing saved my life. I get to share that gratitude and devotion with to my local community and hopefully inspire lives in the process. I believe wholeheartedly in power of literature to change the world.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

I felt there wasn’t a larger literary dialogue going on in St. Pete/Tampa Bay. I don’t believe you can have a thriving arts community without a strong literary component. As a reader and writer I wasn’t getting my needs met, so I created a reality in which I would want to participate and live in as a creative.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

That being a poet really helps with managing a non-profit. The poet’s mindset takes a really big idea and then immediately distills it into the most efficient and effective way of executing it. (At least that’s my experience.) This helps so much with running a sustainable organization.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

Balancing everything, so my own writing practice doesn’t disappear.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

Learn as much as you can then take what works for you and leave the rest. Follow your intuition.

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