6 Questions for CRWROPPS (Creative Writers Opportunities List) founder Allison Joseph

If you are a poet or writer and haven’t yet joined the CRWROPPS list-serve, you could be missing out on great creative writing opportunities!

I’ve been impressed and fascinated with this long running, no-cost resource for poets and writers, so I asked founder Allison Joseph six questions to learn more. See my interview with Joseph and information on how to join the list-serve below.

1. You mentioned to me that you started the Creative Writers Opportunities List about twenty years ago! That’s a long time to keep a project like this going. Can you share how and why you started it?

Before CRWROPPS, I had a similar list called CONPO, which must have been more focused on poetry contests, given that name. I started it to help writers, plain and simple. Back when list serves were the primary way for writers to communicate, it seemed a fairly easy way to get information to writers quickly and easily. Now we have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Submittable, a whole bunch of different ways. But people still like the list-serve, and there are folks who don’t do social media who still want to be on list-serves.

2. What’s been the most rewarding aspect of running the list-serve?

Hearing from folks who have gotten published because they saw an item posted on the list. Sometimes you just need a little nudge, and seeing those postings every day, a lot of folks have told me that it makes them submit more.

3. What did you learn early on that helped you refine your process in managing the list?

I don’t have much of a process, really. I did learn that I couldn’t post mere announcements of readings & events for writers–that there are so many workshops/conferences/events that they’d come to dominate the list. So I restrict announcements of those kinds of events to the ones that have contests or fellowships attached.

4. Do you have a couple of tips for poets/writers just starting to submit their work?

Separate the creative self from the bookkeeping/send-out-work self. The creative self can be insecure and questioning, but the send-out self has to be all business, emotionally dispassionate. Follow directions–so many folks seem to not be able to follow directions! If I post an item that confuses you, you can ask me, but more likely, the literary opportunity has the answer on their website if you just look deep enough.

5. Do you have a couple of tips for lit mag/journal editors re: submission calls and guidelines?

Send all guidelines to me at (yes, that’s an AOL address–that’s how long I’ve been doing this list). Make the text plain–no bold, no colors–send it in the body of the email (not a PDF). Include any email address or URLs spelled out–
eg, or

Don’t just send me a link to the guidelines on your magazine’s website–send me the actual text of what you want posted.

To join the list, send me an email at and I’ll send you list joining instructions.

6. What are some of your favorite literary magazines/journals?

Crab Orchard Review, a magazine I have been editor and poetry editor of for years, River Styx (I live near to Saint Louis, and River Styx is the literary life force in that city, Light Quarterly–a magazine of light verse that I serve as a Contributing Editor for, Mid-American Review, Ploughshares, and many others!

Allison Joseph lives in Carbondale, Illinois, where she is Professor of English and Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University. She serves as poetry editor of Crab Orchard Review. Her books and chapbooks include What Keeps Us Here (Ampersand Press), Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon University Press), In Every Seam (University of Pittsburgh Press), Worldly Pleasures (Word Tech Communications), Imitation of Life (Carnegie Mellon UP), Voice: Poems (Mayapple Press), My Father’s Kites (Steel Toe Books), Trace Particles (Backbone Press), Little Epiphanies (NightBallet Press), Mercurial (Mayapple Press), Mortal Rewards (White Violet Press), Multitudes (Word Poetry), The Purpose of Hands (Glass Lyre Press), Double Identity (Singing Bone Press) Corporal Muse (Sibling Rivalry) and What Once You Loved (Barefoot Muse Press). Her most recent full-length collection, Confessions of a Barefaced Woman was published by Red Hen Press in June 2018 and is the Gold/First Place winner of the 2019 Feathered Quill Award in Poetry and is a nominated work for the 2019 NAACP Image Award in Poetry. She is the literary partner and wife of poet and editor Jon Tribble.

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