Poetry Prize | ECTC

Poetry Prize

Joy Bale Boone

Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize

Closed Dec 15, 2022 - Reopening August 1, 2023.

We were pleased to announce the winners for the 2023 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize:

  • Grand Prize, Ryan Harper, New York, NY, “Gee’s Bend—Pettway”
  • Second Place, Jenny Crews, Springfield, MO, "Wake"
  • Third Place, Kaecey McCormick, Cupertino, CA, "Dandelion Wishes"
  • Honorable Mention, Kory Wells, Murfreesboro, TN, “Poem in Which Blanks Persist”


  • Jacob R. Benavides, Corpus Christi, TX, “As If Again” and “Cardinals Are the Color of Blood”
  • Hassan A.J., Saihat, Saudia Arabia, “Home After the Maple” and “Revision”
  • Shakiba Hashemi, Aliso Viejo, CA, “Persian Lullaby”
  • Tyler Hurula, Denver, CO, “Cannibal, or My Boyfriend Dumped Me Before I Finished Writing this Poem”
  • Zebulon Huset, Grand Prairie, TX, “The Winterwear Jetsam of Eight Grade”
  • Rosa Lane, Santa Rosa, CA “My Secret”
  • Susan L. Leary, Coral Gables, FL, “The Birds, They Too, Are Clean” and “Misspent & Yet—"
  • Triin Paja, Lehetu, Estonia, “Morsels of Earth”
  • Elaine Fowler Palencia, Champaign, IL. “Letter from Home”
  • RB Simon, Madison, WI, "Holding Water"
  • Matthew Spireng, Kingston, NY,“ Brilliant”
  • Samuel Ugbechie, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, “Yada yada” and “Something like shapes”
  • H. Allen White, Murray, KY, “Maple Leaves” and “A History of Time in Briefs”


The next contest will open August 1, 2023 and close November 15, 2023.

$750 Grand Prize

Please read the guidelines below.

Joy Bale Boone (1912-2002) was an American poet best known for her devotion to the arts. Born in Chicago, where she received inspiration from poet Harriet Monroe, Boone spent most of her life in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. She was active in the women's liberation movement, having formed the League of Women Voters in Hardin County, KY in 1944. Throughout her life, she served on numerous committees and boards in hopes that more people would have the opportunity to experience the arts in the way that she had. Her most significant work was The Storm's Eye: A Narrative in Verse Celebrating Cassius Marcellus Clay, Man of Freedom 1810–1903. She served as Kentucky's Poet Laureate from 1997-1998.

From Joy


Happiness is yet the essence of a moment--
be still for this!

Resist kaleidoscopes,
the mad twirling of colors,
and the hunter's horn.

Fleet is the moment
its essence shy
can wait forever . . .
only we die.

Contest Guidelines

  1. Electronically submit no more than three (3) original, unpublished poems and donate $10.
  2. Poems should be typed, 12 point font and submitted as a Word file (no pdfs). Any style and/or length are accepted.
  3. Simultaneous submissions accepted, but poems placed elsewhere will not be included in contest. Writers will need to withdraw their entire submissions if published elsewhere. Money will not be refunded. 
  4. Each finalists (there's usually about 20) will receive a free copy of the Spring 2024 issue of The Heartland Review wherein winners and finalists will be published.  Exception: Finalists living outside of the United States will need to purchase all copies through Amazon to ensure delivery.
  5. Our products are published and made available through Amazon. All entrants, regardless of publication, can receive a discount on the publication cost by contacting us.
  6. Upon entry, writers should provide a cover page/cover letter that includes name, address, email, and a 30-40 word biography with the poems in one Word document.
  7. The first day writers can submit to the new contest is August 1, 2023. The deadline for entries is November 15, 2023.  All writers should use the submit link below, which uses Submittable. We can not accept submissions by email.
  8.  Winners will be announced in February 2024.
  9. There is a $10.00 submission fee/donation. Your donation supports the prize for this competition.
  10. THRP retains first North American serial rights and may use the submitted material to promote the journal and website in perpetuity. Upon publication, rights return to the owner.

Thank you for supporting our journal and remembering Joy!

Meet the Judge

Bernard Clay

Bernard Clay is a Louisville, Kentucky, native who grew up in the shadow of the now demolished Southwick housing projects on the “West End” of town. He has spent most of his life in Kentucky cultivating an appreciation, over the years, for the state’s disappearing natural wonders and unique but sparse urban areas.

Bernard received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Kentucky Creative Writing Program and is a member of the Affrilachian Poets collective. His work has been published in various journals and anthologies. He currently resides on a farm in eastern Kentucky with his herbalist wife Lauren (founder of Resilient Roots). English Lit is his first book.


Click here to Submit -  Powered by Submittable