Poetry contest to explore meaning of unity through American democracy

American flag


Vanderbilt students are invited to express how they feel about unity and democracy through a new poetry contest. The Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy is holding the contest in partnership with the Department of English and Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing program. The theme is “what unity through American democracy means to me.”

Undergraduate and graduate students can submit a poem in any style by April 4.

Submit your poem here.


The winning poem will receive a cash prize and be featured by the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority.

The top three finalists will have the opportunity to share their poems at a reading during Poetry Month in April. They will receive cash prizes as follows:

First Place: $1,000
Second Place: $500
Third Place: $250

Poem submissions should keep the Unity Project’s seven pillars in mind:

  • Polarization: Its Past, Present and Future
  • Hours of Hope: Case Studies in American Progress
  • Race in America: Toward a Nation of Equality
  • Under God: The Role of Religion in a Divided Time
  • To Keep the Republic: Strengthening Democratic Principles at Home and Abroad
  • Information Marketplace: Ensuring the Public Has the Data
  • Cultural Bridges: Using Artistic Expression to Narrow the Divide

Submit your poem here.


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 make a meaningful contribution to solving society’s most pressing challenges and bridging our deepest differences.

  • Visit our NEWS & EVENTS page to view other programs from the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy.
  • Stay informed on compelling panels, events, news and information from the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy through the bi-weekly newsletter, On Unity.