Vanderbilt Review hosts release party for their 2022 issue

On Tuesday, April 19, The Vanderbilt Review hosted a release party open to all students with free food and opportunities to talk about pieces with creators celebrating all their hard work.


The Vanderbilt Review

Copies of the 2022 Vanderbilt Review on the newsstand in Sarratt. (Photo courtesy of @thevanderbiltreview on Instagram)

Brynn Jones

Want a glimpse into some of the artistic and literary talent on campus? This Tuesday, April 19, The Vanderbilt Review hosted its 2022 launch party at 7 p.m. in Alumni 206, celebrating 144 student-created works of art in three categories: visual art, prose, and poetry. 

The Vanderbilt Review is the official arts and literature publication for undergraduates at Vanderbilt. Every year, some of the best student art on campus are combined into a printed showcase of creative talent every year in 144 short pages.

“We broke every submission record by wide margins this year,” senior Kelly Morgan, the Editor-in Chief, said. “The poetry section had 280 submissions and the poetry staff accepted four percent.” 

Developing the publication is quite a time-intensive process. Editorial staff selections take place in the spring of the previous year, and publication follows a year later. Promotion for submissions takes place during the fall semester. The submission deadline, according to Morgan, is when the real work starts. Over winter break and into mid-January, decisions about what will be included are made. Staff for each of the three sections look through all the submissions in their section, rank every single submission, and then they discuss with other staff members which pieces to include.  

After the layout team puts it all in order, there are three rounds of editing before it is sent to the publisher. 

Aside from the creation of the publication, The Review also hosts the Create-a-Thon in the fall semester. Intended to bring together the artistic community at Vanderbilt, the Create-a-Thon is a night where students can get together and experiment with new art forms, meet some of the art organizations on campus and culminates in an open mic at the end of the night for people to share songs, poetry, and short stories. Junior Zhi-Ying Chua, the managing editor of The Vanderbilt Review, describes it as one of her favorite parts of being on the review board.

“For the first time we collaborated with different organizations on campus and we had the officers of each organization staffing creation stations and advertising their orgs at the same time,” Chua said. “It was really cool seeing everyone coming together in a safe space to create art.”

According to Morgan, The Review does not compile content with a specific commonality in mind, but themes often evolve. Last year, it was centered around the idea of growing up. This year, Morgan described the publication as having “an emotional curve.” 

“The first pieces are happy and welcoming, it’s much heavier in the middle and at the end there are some more whimsical pieces. There’s no narrative, but it follows an emotional progression,” Morgan said. 

Chua noted a few different themes present in this year’s publication. 

“We always see people writing about how outside factors pressure our inside identities. This year, we saw a lot of pieces discussing the pressures of nationhood and fracturing nationhood in our identities,” Chua said. 

One of Morgan’s favorite pieces this year is a two-page spread of art pieces. One page has an unhappy-looking older man looking out a window into an orange sky, and the next picture is a steeple that has a similarly colored sky. 

“I love this piece because it looks like the man is looking into the other painting out of the window,” Morgan said. 

This year, you can find copies of The Review on the newsstands around campus, located in Sarratt outside of the Sarratt Theater, near Local Java and upstairs in Rand. You can also find copies in the Benson Hall lounge area, on the fourth floor of Central Library and near the entrances of Furman, Calhoun and Wilson. 

The event was Tuesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. in Alumni Hall 206. The casual celebration of the publication was a moment to recognize the work of contributors and the staff. 

More information about the Vanderbilt Review and application opportunities can be found on their website and Instagram account