Poetry Collection Publishes Works of Ramapo Students

Senior Danielle Corcione, as well as three other Ramapo alumni, have been featured in a poetry collection entitled “Verse: Collective New Voices.” This collection, put together by Dr. Michael O’Connell, was devoted to spotlighting the works of unpublished authors.

“O’Connell’s focus is solely on the unpublished poet; poets whose own inner turmoil produces verses that perfectly capture the struggles of the human condition,” a press release from Hibernian Publishing, publisher of "Verse: Collective New Voices," stated.

Among the poets featured are Corcione, Bobby Texel, who graduated in 2012, Sarah Galo and Ashley Rockhill, both of whom graduated in 2013. This collection has amplified the voices of generally unknown authors, not all of whom are necessarily working as writers.

Corcione submitted her poetry toward the end of her freshman year at Ramapo, after a friend told her about the collection.

“My poems represent how I felt transitioning from high school to college,” said Corcione, who is studying abroad right now, in an email. “They're not really about the transition itself, but captivate the kind of poet I was during that time.”

Ashley Rockhill, a Ramapo alumna featured in the anthology, has pursued a career in insurance since graduating from college. Rockhill explained that because of her steady job, she has had time to develop other interests, including dancing, playing violin and writing.

“I actually had submitted work to the publisher a couple years ago while I was still at Ramapo, maybe around 2012,” said Rockhill. “Things had seemed to fall through a bit and I hadn’t heard anything back in a while in regards to actually publishing anything, so I had assumed it was just another rejection, since rejection to acceptance ratio is probably 75:25. I got a message on my Twitter account saying ‘I hope this is the right Ashley,’ requesting more of my work about a year and a half later, and now it’s all being published.”

About a dozen of Rockhill’s poems will be inked on to the pages of “Verse: Collective New Voices,” most of which are based on people she has encountered throughout her life.

“Generally, they are about people I know, or have at least met and expanding their story a little bit more, pretending for a moment I were them and there,” she said.

One poem entitled “Kicked” is about a client Rockhill knew during her substance abuse counseling internship, who constantly wavered between conquering her alcoholism and relapsing, Rockhill explained. “With Love, From Berkley,” written initially for her father, is about a Vietnam veteran who is suffering from shell shock and PTSD. Another called “Wino” is about her grandfather, who battled with alcoholism and Alzheimer's disease towards the end of his life, and the relationship he had with his wife.

“It was possibly one of the hardest things I’ve written for worry of coming off as too harsh, because my grandfather truly is one of the most influential relatives I have,” Rockhill said of “Wino.”

According to Rockhill, collections like “Verse: Collective New Voices,” gives people like herself, someone who is not a professional writer, the chance to make their stories heard.

“As someone who’s doing the writing submission circuit, it’s not easy getting accepted … I personally am not looking for poetic fame, but feel like everyone has a story that needs to be heard. And that’s what authors write: stories. Your stories, their stories, his stories, her stories, my stories. And I think every unpublished author should get the chance to have even just one story published, because someone, somewhere wanted to read that story, and without projects like this, they’d never have the chance,” Rockhill said.

For Corcione, who has yet to enter the workforce, opportunities like this keep her motivated to continue writing, no matter her future occupation.

“It's encouraging and inspiring. It's motivation to keep writing,” said Corcione. “I have a passion for writing, so this definitely helps and fuels that. I want to use writing in whatever I do.”