The Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy is a nonpartisan initiative that aims to elevate research and evidence-based reasoning into the national conversation. Drawing on original research, evidence-based papers and crucial conversations from Vanderbilt’s world-class faculty and visionary thought leaders of all political persuasions, the timely endeavor aims to give policymakers and the public the tools needed to combat conspiracy and unfounded ideology with evidence, data and respectful discourse. The Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy can contribute to solving society’s most pressing challenges and bridging our most significant differences. Learn more at 


Nashville Review is proud to partner with the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy by publishing the winners of the project’s poetry contest. Open to students currently enrolled in any Tennessee college or university, the poems submitted explore “what unity through American democracy means to you.”


2023 Poetry Contest Winners:
First Place: “In my ASL class today, we learn how to sign UNITY” by Sophie Kaiser, Vanderbilt University
Second Place: “Her eyelids were a lovely yellow-green” by TaKya Hughes, East Tennessee State University
Third Place: “Non-Immigrant” by Shlagha Borah, University of Tennessee, Knoxville