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Welcome to the Heartland Review´s webpage!

We appreciate your visit. Founded in 2000, THR is a biannual digest-sized journal published in spring and fall and an imprint of The Heartland Review Press. We accept submissions year-round. Our reading periods are January-February and August-September. We try to respond in 2-3 months. When able, we will comment on submissions that don't quite fit. THR retains first North American serial rights. Subscription rates are here.

The Heartland Review Journal cover.
Contributors to the Spring 2017 issue include:
  • Bianca Spriggs
  • Richard Taylor
  • Jeff Worley
  • Bobbi Buchanan

Our mission is to complement the writing community of Kentucky but welcome writers from far and near. In addition to having published writers from most states, we are proud to have had submissions from France, Germany, Japan, and Iran.

Not only do we wish to publish established writers, but emerging and younger writers may find an audience here. In fact, when possible, we feature a Younger Artists section in our issues.

We are now accepting submissions for our 2017 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize and our inaugural Chapbook Prize contest.

  • The Staff
    • Mick Kennedy ~ Editor-in-Chief
    • Ted Higgs ~ Associate Editor
    • Yvonne Morris ~ Associate Editor
  • Poetry Editors
    • Tasha Cotter
    • Michael Coyle
    • Whittney Jones
    • Pamela Johnson Parker
  • Fiction Editors
    • Sue Ballard
    • Jim Corbit
    • Deena Lilygren
    • Robert Villanueva
  • Non-Fiction Editor
    • Amy Fox-Angerer

The 2016 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize Winners!

First Place

  • Coal ~ Whittney Jones ~ Harrisburg, IL

Second Place

  • Unfolding ~ William Snyder ~ South Fargo, ND

Third Place

  • Words at the End of the World ~ Tash Cotter ~ Lexington, KY

Journal Archives

Fall 2015 Journal edition.

Fall 2015 Journal edition.

Fall 2012 Journal edition.

Literary Journal History

ECTC's literary journal began with the publication Gyres, which was founded by Dr. Donna Lee Hill, advisor to the student writing group the Jabberwocks. Ruth Redel, who taught English at Elizabethtown Community College for many years and who continues to facilitate the writing group known as the Reader's Room, succeeded Dr. Hill as advisor of Gyres.

The journal went through several name changes, becoming Vox Humana and then ECCO. English instructor Linda Beattie succeeded Ruth Redel as advisor, with counselor Chuck Spataro joining her as co-advisor and then co-editor, as faculty took on a greater share of the responsibility for the journal. At this time ECCO focused primarily on publishing work from the ECC community.

Since 2001 the journal has been known as the Heartland Review. ECTC faculty, staff, students and members of the literary community at large serve on its editorial board. The Heartland Review receives hundreds of submissions every year, including submissions from Canada, Italy and other countries. In 2002 the board established the Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize in order to honor this long-time Elizabethtown resident's contributions to the development of Kentucky poetry. In 2007 the Heartland Review received the Silver Medallion Marketing Award from KCTCS.

Literary Reading Series

October 7, 2015

Poets: Nickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs.
They say "Write what you know: This most common of writing advice can also be the most con-fining-but only when limited to your own personal experiences. Instead. . . take on other lives and voices in your poems, to write from perspectives, time periods, and even genders not your own."

The Heartland Review Creative Writing Club hosted poets Nickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs in ECTC´s Morrison Gallery. Nickole read from her latest volume Fanny Says, a biography of her grandmother told through poems and prose. Jessica entertained the audience with poems from her debut collection Pelvis with Distance and a slide show and some historical accounts of Georgia O´Keefe, the artist who inspired several of Jessica´s works. The poets are concluding a nation-wide book tour.

November 5, 2015

On November 5, from 6:30-8:00 pm, The Heartland Review Creative Writing Club will host an open mic in ECTC´s Behen Community Room (JSO building room 112). All are invited to this reading; however, if you wish to read some of your own creative work, you should arrive at 6pm to get on the list (readers will be limited to 10 minutes). Light refreshments will be served.

This event is free and open to the public.

November 12, 2015

On November 12, from 6.30-8.30 pm, The Heartland Review Creative Writing Club will host a local writing group The Bard´s Corner in ECTC´s Behen Community Room (JSO building room 112). The reading will feature members´ works in progress or finished/published work of that group. Light refreshments will be served.

This event is free and open to the public.

News & Events

  • The Heartland Review Creative Writing Club meets every other Thursday from 4:30-6:00 pm. Our next meeting takes place on October 29 in the JSO building, room 121.
  • The Heartland Review Creative Writing Club will sponsor a Flash-fiction Contest for spring 2016 and publish a special issue of The Heartland Review.

The Heartland Review announces

The 2017 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize


  • $350 First Place
  • $100 Second Place
  • $75 Third Place

All finalists will be published in THR´s Spring 2017 issue. To enter the contest, participants should mail a $10 donation by check or money order (we cannot accept cash) made out to The Heartland Review and up to three (3) poems to:

2017 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize
c/o Sandi Howard
Elizabethtown Community & Technical College
600 College Street Road
Elizabethtown, KY 42701

Or you can enter the contest electronically here... (The subject line should read JBB2017)

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

No simultaneous submissions please.

Provide a cover page that includes name, address, email, and a 30-40 word biography with the poems. No contact information should appear on the manuscripts. All forms are welcomed. Winners will be announced in April.

Deadline for entries is postmark February 15, 2017.

Our judge for this year's contest will be Jeff Worley.


The 2017 Chapbook Prize

  • The winner receives $350 award and fifty copies.

To Enter Send...

A $25 donation to The Heartland Review Creative Writing Club by check or through Paypal and no more than 32 pages of original poetry to:

The Heartland Review Press 2017 Chapbook Prize
c/o Mick Kennedy
Elizabethtown Community & Technical College
600 College Street Road
Elizabethtown, KY 42701

Entries should include a cover page with contact information, a biography and publishing credits. We do not accept electronic submissions. If the donation is through Paypal, please email Mick Kennedy at Mick.Kennedy@kctcs.edu for confirmation or questions.

We will print in a 5 1/2 X 8 1/2 format with cover art selected by the publisher.

Deadline for entries is postmark February 15, 2017.

Award winning author, Gary Jackson.

Our inaugural contest's judge is Dr. Matthew Brennan of Indiana State University.

One Life (Lamar University Press, 2015), The House with the Mansard Roof (Backwaters Press, 2009), The Sea-Crossing of Saint Brendan (Birch Brook Press, 2008), The Music of Exile (Cloverdale Books, 1994)

The Light of Common Day (Finishing Line Press, 2011)

The Great American Wise Ass Poetry Anthology (Lamar University Press, 2018), Good Company: Poets from Grinnell College (Grinnell College, 2000), Passages North Anthology: A Decade of Good Writing (Milkweed Editions, 1990)

Blue Unicorn, Commonweal, Concho River Review, Descant, Heartland Review, Iambs & Trochees, Lake Effect, MacGuffin, Notre Dame Review, Passages North, Paterson Literary Review, Poem, Poet Lore, Poetry Ireland Review, San Pedro River Review, Sewanee Review, South Carolina Review, South Dakota Review, The Aurorean, Tipton Poetry Journal, Trinacria, War, Literature and the Arts, Westview

From the Editor's Desk

We should soon offer subscriptions to the journal for a nominal donation. Through donations, we will further grow the writing community by offering weekend or weekly writing seminars, supporting visiting writers through The Heartland Review Literary Reading Series, and awarding outstanding students who work toward a creative lifestyle scholarships.

Mick Kennedy, Ed.


If you or someone you love can´t sleep at night because there are too many things swirling in the brain, then we´re here to help. Write those thoughts down and send them to us.

We seek the highest quality, previously unpublished, original fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and artwork. We do accept simultaneous submissions, but request prompt notification if the work is accepted elsewhere. When it comes to poetry, you should withdraw your poems if they are accepted for publication elsewhere (or poem as the case may be) by adding a note on Submittable. We´re looking at 2-3months response time.


(Go HERE for Joy Bale Boone Poetry Contest submissions)

Poets should submit 3-5 previously unpublished poems. Be mindful of lines that might be compromised because of their length. Name, contact information, and a 30-40 word biography should appear on a cover page. Personal information on any other pages of the manuscript(s) will automatically disqualify submission.


Submit up to five pieces. (Please include a description of the medium of each piece.) We accept B&W artwork or photography created in the last six months prior to submission. The cover is awarded to the "best" color artwork. From time to time, we might select a single artist´s work for a "focus on the artist" section in our journal.


Writers should submit 1-2, previously unpublished stories. Submissions should be double-spaced. We ask that stories be no longer than 3,000 words, given the journal´s limited space. Name, contact information, a 30-40 word biography, and word count should appear on a cover page. Personal information on any other pages of the manuscript will automatically disqualify submission.

Non-Fiction / Creative Non-Fiction

The Heartland Review is now accepting creative nonfiction of 3,000 words or less. If you or someone you love can´t sleep at night because there are too many things swirling in the brain, then we're here to help. Write those thoughts down and send them in.

We´re looking for essays and memoir-style writing. No literary criticism, book reviews, or journalism. Though we accept things with epiphanies and happy endings, we want writing that expresses the grit of our human existence. You can reveal old truths and life lessons, but the writing must not be stale.

Subscription Rates

The Heartland Review Journal cover.

We are asking for those interested to subscribe to THR. A donation of $9.00 per issue or $15.00 for a full year to The Heartland Review Creative Writing Club is greatly appreciated.

Yearly subscribers may enter the annual Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize for free.

Contributors to the Fall 2016 issue include:
  • Matthew Brennan
  • Nickole Brown
  • Jessica Jacobs
  • Tom Hunley
  • Mark Lee Webb

Become a friend of The Heartland Review Creative Writing Club for a $20 donation and receive a year's subscription, a coffee mug, and a journal.

Pay via Paypal or send your check to:

  • The Heartland Review Creative Writing Club
    600 College Street Road
    Elizabethtown, KY 42701

When paying via PayPal, contact mick.kennedy@kctcs.edu for subscription confirmation.



Photo of author Yvonne Morris.
"Mother was a Sweater Girl" by Yvonne Morris

Yvonne Morris works as a writing instructional specialist and adjunct instructor in communications at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College in Elizabethtown KY. Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, she graduated from high school in Muncie, IN and received her master's degree in communication from the University of Kentucky. In addition to being a production editor for South-Western Publishing in Cincinnati, OH, she has assisted in the publication of The Heartland Review for 15 years, moving from Editorial Assistant to Associate Editor. She resides in Elizabethtown, KY.

Mother Was a Sweater Girl is her first chapbook.

Photo of author Ted Higgs.
by Ted Higgs

Ted Higgs currently directs the Latin program at Maryville College in Tennessee. He has taught at the college level for over 30 years-at the US Military Academy, the University of Maryland (European Division), Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, the University of Kentucky, and elsewhere-teaching language, literature, and creative writing. He is a retired Army officer and a linguist, having worked and translated in both Modern Greek and Italian. His poetry and translations have appeared in numerous journals.

This is his first book of poetry.

The front cover image of the Flash Fiction Anthology.
Flash Fiction Anthology
Spring 2016

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