NEW site for CRWROPPS (Creative Writers Opportunities List) + interview w/ founder Allison Joseph

The CRWROPPS list serve has moved to a new site! The new CRWROPPS blog is at Make sure to bookmark the blog and check it regularly or to follow via your Blogger Reading List so you don’t miss the many opportunities for creative writers posted regularly every week.

To follow this blog or others on Blogger,

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  3. In the top right, click Edit Edit.
  4. Click Add.
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I’ve been impressed and fascinated with this long running, no-cost resource for poets and writers, so I interviewed founder Allison Joseph to learn more. See my interview with Joseph and information on how to join the list-serve below.

So CRWROPPS has a new location where writers can find information on creative writing opportunities. Why did you decide to make this change?

I recently suffered two losses–the loss of my beloved husband, poet and editor Jon Tribble, and the loss of the CRWROPPS list-serve.  Now, it may seem ridiculous to compare these two things, but hear me out.  Jon was my world. And a big part of promoting the various things Jon did as Managing Editor of Crab Orchard Review and Series Editor of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry involved CRWROPPS list-serve. Whenever Crab Orchard Review had a call for submissions or the poetry series had an upcoming contest, Jon would ask me to promote it on CRWROPPS. He believed in service to other writers, as do I. So when Jon died suddenly on October 2, and then Yahoo announced that they were no longer supporting list-serves, it was the strangest of double blows.

I decided continue with CRWROPPS, but not do another list-serve. Instead, CRWROPPS is now a blog that I plan on updating at least 3 times a week. This blog with have the same content as the list-serve, but will be more accessible to more people–just bookmark the link.

As for Jon’s work as a poet and editor, that’s a bit more difficult. There will be a memorial here in Carbondale, Illinois on November 2, and one in Jon’s hometown of Little Rock, AR on December 16. I will be overseeing his legacy as a poet and an editor. My first reading after his death I read a combination of his poems and mine, assuring myself that our union did not die when he did.

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 there are folks who don’t do social media who previously joined the list-serve and now they can access the information just as easily on the blog.

What’s been the most rewarding aspect of running CRWROPPS?

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.

What did you learn early on that helped you refine your process in managing CRWROPPS?

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.

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.

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.

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 directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University.

Born in London, England to parents of Caribbean heritage, Allison Joseph grew up in Toronto, Canada, and the Bronx, New York. A graduate of Kenyon College and Indiana University, she serves as poetry editor of Crab Orchard Review, the publisher of No Chair Press, and the director of Writers In Common, a writing conference for writers of all ages and experience levels. In 2014, she was awarded a Doctor of Letters honorary degree from her undergraduate alma mater, Kenyon College.

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 Press) and What Once You Loved (Barefoot Muse Press). She is the literary partner and wife of poet and editor Jon Tribble. She has also published fiction and nonfiction, and travels frequently to read from her work at various festivals, conferences, and universities.

Her latest full-length book of poetry, Confessions of a Barefaced Woman, was published by Red Hen Press in 2018. Confessions of a Barefaced Woman was chosen as the Gold/First Place Winner in the poetry category of the 2019 Feathered Quill Book Awards. Confessions of a Barefaced Woman is also a 2019 nominee in the poetry category of the NAACP Image Awards. Confessions of a Barefaced Woman is also a 2019 finalist for both the Montaigne Medal and the Da Vinci Eye Book Award, sponsored by the Eric Hoffer Book Awards.

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3 replies »

  1. Thank you for posting this. And thanks to Allison for her courage in sharing her story, her commitment to the literary community, and her creativity in the face of loss. And congratulations on her new blog!
    As one of those dinosaurs who follows blogs via e-mail, my humble recommendation would be to add that option. (The Blogger blogs I follow use Feedburner, which leads me to believe that Blogger doesn’t offer that service directly.)

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