Poetry Prize | ECTC

Poetry Prize

Joy Bale Boone

Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize

This contest closed on December 1, 2023.

The winners are:

First Place, Victoria Melekian, “First They Send You to Limbo”,  https://victoriamelekian.com/

Second Place, Marina Kraiskaya, “Migration through Borrego Springs”

Third Place, Cate Honzl, “No Matter”

Honorable Mention, Dalton Sikes, “Portrait of Barcelona’s Beauty” 

Honorable Mention, Serghei Reazantev, “Old McDonald’s Farm

Other Finalists

Rachel Beard, Sophia” & “Virginia”

Aloma Davis, “Meniscus”


Mel Finefrock, “Post Retrograde”, https://linktr.ee/MelFinefrock

Lance Levens, “Cy’s Battle” 

Victoria Melekian, “Not Yet, My Grandchildren Aren’t Ready”

Miciah Pendarvis, “Two Truths and a Lie”

Linda Neal Reising, “What You Missed While You Were in Grandma’s Living Room

with All the Other Women”

Barbara Schweitzer, “There are no memories, only stories, ha!”

The above individuals were notified March 27-31st through Submittable.

$500 grand prize gift card, $140 second place gift card, $100 third place gift card.

Contest Guidelines

By submitting to the Contest, the entrant agrees to abide by all Contest rules.

All entries must be original works by the entrant, in English. Plagiarism, which includes the use of third-party poetry, song lyrics, characters, or another person’s universe, without written permission, will result in disqualification. We expect that all writers understand plagiarism and provide said written permission upon submission.

To submit to this contest, writers

  1. Must be over the age of 18.
  2. Have a United States Postal Address (USPS).
  3. Have the ability to accept and use the reward, which is a gift card, usually a Visa gift card purchased from Kroger.
  4. Use the Submittable link below to submit to this contet. We can not accept submissions by email or by mail. If writers do not have an account with Submittable, it is free to set up but an account is required.
  5. Electronically submit no more than three (3) original, unpublished poems in any style, length or genre but in English. These poems must be typed and submitted as a Word file. PDFS will be disqualified.
  6. Donate $10 by using the Submittable button at the bottom of the page by the deadline of December 1, 2023.
  7. Simultaneous submissions are 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. 
  8. 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. Bios over 40 words will be edited.


The most common edit that THRP makes for poets is shortening the bio.

We can not accept changes to the poem or bio once it is submitted. If you would like to make changes, please withdraw your first submission and submit a new one but be advised that we may have reached our cap and that another fee will be required.  All resubmissions must follow the same guidelines.


  1. We will announce the 3 winners, around 2 honorable mentions, and finalists no later than the end of March. There's about 20 total.
  2. It takes up to 90 days to process the prizes, which are gift cards. These will arrive by USPS to the winners. $500 grand prize gift card, $140 second place gift card, $100 third place gift card.
  3. 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. This is mailed via USPS to the address provided in Submittable. Writers are responsible for updating their address in Submittable.
  4. Writers can purchase more copies through Amazon.
  5. THRP retains first North American serial rights and may use the submitted material to promote The Heartland Review and website in perpetuity. Upon publication, rights return to the owner. We asked to be credited in the future.
  6. THRP is not an independent press. We are subject to the governance of our college ECTC which in turn is part of a larger entity the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. As such, we are not able to enter into a legally binding agreement with our writers.

$500 grand prize gift card, $140 second place gift card, $100 third place gift card.

Meet the Judge: Nina Murray

Nina Murray

Nina Murray is a Ukrainian-American poet and translator. She is the author of the poetry collections Glapthorn Circular (LiveCanon Poetry, 2023) and Alcestis in the Underworld (Circling Rivers Press, 2019) as well as several chapbooks. Her award-winning translations include Oksana Zabuzhko’s Museum of Abandoned Secrets (Amazon Crossing), and Oksana Lutsyshyna’s Ivan and Phoebe (Deep Vellum). Her translation of Lesia Ukrainka’s Cassandra was performed at the Omnibus Theatre in London in 2022 and toured to Cambridge and Oxford in 2023. Nina grew up in Lviv and lives, for the moment, in Cambridgeshire.


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.

Thank you for supporting The Heartland Review and remembering Joy!


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