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.
Happiness is yet the essence of a moment--
be still for this!
the mad twirling of colors,
and the hunter's horn.
Fleet is the moment
its essence shy
can wait forever . . .
only we die.
2021 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize
First Place 2021 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize
Libby Falk Jones
a titter, chickadees.
Teakettle steam quilts
air, her eyebrows arch.
flakes on the window pane, snow
a chilled tongue
of grief, twitter
of dis-ease. No black-and-white chickadees’
notes penetrate, arch
guiltily under the quilt
of troubled dreams. To quilt
is to make art, make blocks cascade, like snow
seals Arctic ice blocks, arch
of igloo door an impenetrable tongue.
Hush, hush, little chickadees,
she croons, as the last logs twitter
in the woodstove, fritter, smoosh, twitter
like lovebirds long familiar, under bedquilt.
Fricassee, wait and see, who is he, chickadees?
Who can tell, ever, the meaning of snow
in any tongue
especially ours, so bare, so thin? Under hearth arch
a cat sleeps orange, twitches with dreams of his arch
rival, black, bitter, sleek. Paws a-twitter,
silent, claws stretched across the quilt
her grandmother pieced, snow
cluttering the empty birdfeeder, chickadees
so soon gone. She to follow those chickadees,
echo that call, through the arch
of eternity. Who will carry her through snow,
whose soothing twitter
lay her to rest beneath the quilt
her grandmother sold her coat to finish, who will sound her tongue?
Snow softens frozen memories, chickadees’
tongues, leaves language to arch,
to astonish, its twitter smooth as a quilt.
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2021 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize Results
Grand Prize Winner Dark Winter Libby Falk Jones Berea, KY
Second Place Son at Twenty-Five, Wounded Libby Falk Jones Berea, KY
Third Place Remandancy, If . . . Nick Sweet Shepard, TX
Honorable Mention Afternoon Heavy with the Closeness of Rain
Brooks Carver Canton, IL
November Days Brooks Carver Canton, IL
Hog: A Delta Memoir and Evel & Me
George Drew Poestenkill, NY
Pa’s False Eye Renny Golden Claremont, CA
Onset Laurinda Lind Redwood, NY
One Well-Placed Shot Elleraine Lockie Sunnyvale, CA
Why I Failed to Commit Suicide? Sandeep Kumar Mishra NSW, AUS
Picking Blackberries and The Next Task
Elaine Fowler Palencia Champaign, IL
Because You Were Never Born Tory V. Pearman Wyoming, OH
Woman of the Thirties, Hinds County
Gail Peck Charlotte, NC
First Quarter Phillip Sterling Lowell, MI
Euryale Julia Watson Raleigh, NC
The Marlinspike and Ampersand of Curvilinear Time
and What Remains H. Allen White Murray, KY
Indie Rock Ghazals and Our Night Drives
B.J. Wilson Jacksonville, AL