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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.

2022 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize

The Heartland Review Press 2022 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize results


judge Tom Hunley


First Place

“Driving Winter”    

John Sibley Williams Milwaukie, OR


Second Place


Dave Malone Ozarks, MO


Third Place

“Bird Shines”  

Douglas Cole Seattle, WA

Honorable Mention


T.R. Morgan Richmond KY


Other finalists


“Poem Beginning with the Last Lines of a Failed Poem” 

Partridge Boswell Woodstock, VT


“The Eclipse Still Lingers” & “Pick A Color”

Michelle Brooks Albuquerque, NM


                                                 “Ice Storm 2021”                                                       

David Cazden Danville, KY 

“A Word for the Way the Light”

Douglas Cole  Seattle, WA

“Bedrooms: A Triptych”

George Drew Poestenkill, NY

“A Love Letter to the West Indian Manatee”  

 T.R. Morgan Richmond KY

“Daybreak and Deep”

Jessica D. Thompson Evansville, IN

“The Fertile Glass of Self-Reflection” & “Most of What We Sketch in Winter”

H. Allen White Murray, KY

“On Frida Kahlo’s Diego on my Mind (Self-Portrait as Tehuana)”

Cailin Wile  Corbin, KY


”Because Everything Here is a Brightness”

John Sibley Williams Milwaukie, OR

First Place

John Sibley Williams

Driving Winter


Something about this cold distance caught in headlights—

frozen in place like lovers & their children forever beautiful


& brief, snared mid-embrace, mid-wail, at the foot of Vesuvius—

reminds me how long it’s been since our bodies have touched.


The mountains gently slope off into level country in our rearview.

Your belly, now field, & the winter winds across it. Our young daughters


breaking & entering every roadside farmhouse, abandoned or burning,

taking only what we’ve failed to pass down to them. The cracks in us,


in the sky opening to white, in the miles that won’t stop unfolding

before & without us, in the naked dogwood’s trembling, in this


never-ending highway beating through rows of wheat & want—

yes, I’m afraid too, whispered when the backseat has finally fallen


silent, asleep, & the world with them—say we’ll someday love all this

for the hairline rift between what it is & what it could be, & might still.


Say the sun breaking over these fields of hardened heather means more

than thaw. Let’s just sit here & listen as our breath relearns how to warm


each other’s hands like burn barrels. Without knowing why, let’s just stare at

this wide-open earth—silent, white, captured in light, vaguely out there before us—


& call it home.

The JBB Poetry Contest is currently not accepting submissions.