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.

2020 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize

First Place 2019 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize

Michael Lasater



In my film the poet (my friend Jim)

first appears framed in late September rain. 


            It’s all faked, of course.


Armed with a garden hose, my giggling assistant

deftly showers the artist’s kitchen window –

for his close-up, Jim holds a steaming kettle to fog

its glazed panes – and I have purchased the sound

of thunder (British thunder!) so you the viewer soon

are swept into my quick little stream of careful lies.

Jim trusts me to perjure on his behalf,

and I swear I will not let him down.


Sheltering my camera, I wait in mist for

a single drop to form and fall from

a barbed wire fence. I pay a friend

(whom I later fire) for rights to watch

his bathroom faucet drip. I freeze ice,

mix drinks, water lawns, scrub out sinks,

go trout fishing, take a shower. 


            This is Art!

Amanda Johnston was born in East St. Louis, IL and raised in Austin, TX. She began writing poetry while living in Kentucky. Since then, her writing has been published widely and she has presented at numerous literary conferences and events.

Amanda earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. She is the author of two chapbooks, GUAP and Lock & Key, the full-length collection Another Way to Say Enter (Argus House Press, 2017) and numerous literary journals.

Named one of Blavity’s 13 Black Poets You Should Know, Amanda’s work has been featured on Bill Moyers, the Poetry Society of America’s online series In Their Own Words, and the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day series. In 2018, she was commissioned to curate a collection of poems for the Poetry Coalition on the theme Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live: Poetry & the Body.

For more visit:

Order the fall 2019 issue of THR now for a $4 donation.


Amanda Johnston

Grand Prize



We are seeking original, unpublished work for the contest. All finalists will be published in THR’s spring 2020 issue and invited to a special reading at ECTC in honor of poetry month. To enter the contest, participants should make a $10 donation through Paypal, submittable or by check or money order (we cannot accept cash) made out to The Heartland Review and up to three (3) poems to:


2020 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize

c/o Sandi Howard


600 College Street Road

Elizabethtown, KY 42701


The donations will fund the contest, creation of the journal, and scholarships for creative writing students.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but please notify us immediately if a poem is accepted elsewhere.


Entrants should provide a cover page that includes name, address, email, and a 30-40 word biography with the poems in one Word document.


Personal information on the manuscripts results in immediate disqualification.


Deadline for entries is postmark November 16, 2019. Winners will be announced in February 2020.



Thank you for supporting our journal and remembering Joy.