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.

2021 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize

First Place 2021 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize

Libby Falk Jones

Dark Winter


Their tongue

a titter, chickadees.

Teakettle steam quilts

air, her eyebrows arch.

The twitter

of snow-


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.

Order the spring 2020 issue of THR now for a $4 donation.

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

Other Finalists

                                                                           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

Spring cover promo.jpg