March 27, 2012

Allison Joseph honored for her role as mentor

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Allison Joseph, poet and the director of the creative writing master of fine arts program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, has received dozens of awards for her poetry.  At the recent Association of Writers and Writing Programs Annual Conference, she received an award for her role as mentor and advocate for young writers.

Joseph is the recipient of the 2012 George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature.

Joseph mentors students at SIU Carbondale -- that’s a major part of her job description.  She also reaches out to even younger writers as the founder and director of the Young Writers Workshop, an annual summer residential writing program for high school students.  She includes graduate students in leading the younger students, thereby not only continuing to mentor the graduate students as they learn to teach the craft, but also demonstrating for them the benefits of mentorship.

She also manages an email list-serv, CRWROPPS -- the Creative Writers Opportunities List -- for which she collects and distributes journal and magazine submission information and deadlines, writing contest deadlines, writing faculty and teaching positions, and other information useful to writers.

Her blog, “mfacarbondale,” is an information trove with links to Crab Orchard Review, the journal for which Joseph serves as editor and poetry editor with her husband, Jon Tribble, managing editor; a job board; SIU Carbondale writing news and events; celebrations of current and former students with publication success; AWP program information; and more.

Stacey Lynn Brown and Adrian Matejka, both on the creative writing faculty at SIU Edwardsville, praised Joseph for her dedication to helping newer writers, and making “the literary world a more beautiful and friendly place, full of possibility and endless opportunity.”

“Allison Joseph is he incarnation of the better angels that animate our organization,” AWP Executive Director David Fenza said while announcing Joseph’s award.

“To me, being a writer is some wicked and unfathomable combination of skill, luck, talent, drive and patience,” Joseph said when she received her award in Chicago.  “Being an advocate for writers is much easier.  Being both has made my life one fortunate and amazing adventure.”

The award honors its namesake, a writer known for his contributions as a teacher, mentor, editor and AWP board member.  It carries with it a cash honorarium of $2,000, a lifetime membership to AWP, and travel and accommodations to attend the annual conference.