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Welcome to the Heartland Review!

The Heartland Review (founded 2001) is a biannual digest-sized journal published with funding from the Kentucky Community & Technical College System and contest reading fees. Issues come out in the fall and summer every year. The Heartland Review seeks poetry, short stories and artwork from writers and artists from Kentucky and other states

Announcing the 2015 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Contest!

(In honor of Joy Bale Boone´s literary contributions.)

Prizes this year include:

  • $350 First Place
  • $100 Second Place
  • $75 Third Place
Find out more about the Joy Bale Boone Poetry Contest...

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.

Poetry Series & Writer's Roundtable

Morrison Gallery Poetry Series

The Poetry Series takes place the third Thursday of every month, September through April in the Morrison Gallery, James Owens Administration Building, Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. The readings begin at 7:00 pm. Sometimes a guest poet may be invited to read. Past featured readers have included Frederick Smock, Leatha Kendrick, Kathleen Driskoll, Frank X. Walker, and others. Winners and runners-up of the annual Poetry Contest are asked to be featured readers at the April Poetry Series reading. If there is no featured reader the entire evening will be given over to an open mic. Anyone may participate in the open mic. The event is open and free to the public

Scheduled Readings
  • No scheduled reading for October in the Morrison Gallery. A reading by THR board members will take place in Lexington KY at the University of Kentucky's Gaines Center, Commonwealth House. This event has been scheduled for Thursday, October 22, 2009 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Featured readers will be Scott Woodham, Yvonne Morris, Ted Higgs, David Harity, Erin Keane and Sherry Chandler.

News & Events

  • The Heartland Review is inviting the UK community to attend the reading on Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 7:00pm in the Gaines Center, Commonwealth House on the UK campus in Lexington KY. Featured readers are THR board members Scott Woodham, Yvonne Morris, Ted Higgs, David Harrity, Erin Keane and Sherry Chandler. The reading will be held in conjunction with the opening of the show by artist Kristian Junker.
  • The Heartland Review would like to announce its first annual Ruth Redel Poetry Prize contest to be held in the fall of each year.

THR announces the 2015 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize

It is has been a couple of years since we offered this contest. Bestowed by Joy´s son Shelby, THR wants to continue to honor Joy Bale Boone´s contribution to Kentucky´s exceptional literary world by reviving this poetry prize.


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

All finalists will be published in THR´s spring 2015 issue and invited to a special reading at ECTC in honor of poetry month. 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:

2015 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize
c/o Sandi Howard
Elizabethtown Community & Technical College
600 College Street Road
Elizabethtown, KY 42701

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

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. Poems should not be longer fifty lines. Deadline for entries is postmark March 7, 2015. Winners will be announced in April.

Thank you for supporting our journal and remembering Joy.

Editor and Judge...
Mick Kennedy

From the Editor's Desk

Please be patient as our new website continues to be developed.


We seek previously unpublished, original fiction, poetry, and artwork. Submissions will be recycled. Compact Discs will be disposed of. THR takes no responsibility for damaged work.


(Does not include submissions for the Joy Bale Boone Poetry Contest )

Poets should submit 3-5 previously unpublished poems. Submissions should be typed. We ask that poems be no longer than 750 words. Be mindful of lines that might be compromised because of their length. 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(s) will automatically disqualify submission.


Submit up to seven pieces. (Please include a description of the medium of each piece.) THR submissions are published on natural tone paper. Artwork must have been created in the last six months prior to submission. The "best" artwork that depicts an "organic setting" will be awarded the cover; however, we consider any submitted work. From time to time, we will 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 typed and doubled-space. We ask that stories be no longer than 3,500 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.


It's 4:50 a.m. and I can't sleep, so this seems like the perfect time to try to write submission guidelines and solicit your creativity. The Heartland Review is now accepting creative nonfiction of 3000 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.

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