Ramapo’s literary magazine is given new life

Poetry, short stories, photography. Sherman Alexie, Joe Hill, Annie Leibovitz… they all had to start somewhere. 

Alexie studied at Washington State University, Hill at Vassar College and Leibovitz at San Francisco Art Institute. Here at Ramapo, students can enter the world of publication and begin their own journey through Trillium, the school’s literary magazine.

Beginning in the 1970s, Trillium was made to showcase the literary and artistic work of students. With a run of over 40 years, the magazine struggled to stay afloat during COVID-19.

“With the effects of the pandemic, it’s dwindled and not as widely recognized,” said Denisse Gonzalez-Ramirez, who works on the multimedia committee. 

“I think having a college literary magazine in a place for young artists and writers…is so crucial in building confidence.”

– William Cagle

This semester, nine dedicated students came together to, as Gonzalez-Ramirez says, breathe “life back into this ongoing project.”

Every Wednesday, members of the team gather in A103 to discuss pieces that have been submitted and vote on which will be a part of the upcoming publication.

Amanda Oliver, a senior communications major with a concentration in creative writing who is on the proofreading committee for Trillium, says that the crew is “a talented group of individuals who are passionate about reading and writing, coming together to help create a great collection of work.” 

Prose, photography, poetry, short stories and art are all accepted for the magazine. Last year’s edition, which was published in May of 2022, presented 19 poems, two pieces of prose, seven pieces of visual art and four editorial features by both Ramapo students and professors.

This year, the team utilized a lot of advertising and hosted events to attract more submissions. “My favorite part so far has been getting in touch with different communities on campus and trying to spread the word,” said Gonzalez-Ramirez. “You never realize how many connections you have until you start putting them to use.”

They hosted a tabling event on Oct. 19 where members of the magazine displayed past publications that guests could flip through and read. They also provided QR codes with links for students to submit their work. 

Papers with the same QR code were scattered around the hot spots on campus, including Dunkin Donuts and the fishbowl. Thanks to this marketing, Trillium received over 100 submissions this semester.

At the head of it all is William Cagle, one of Ramapo’s new adjunct professors. After earning a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College, Cagle came here to teach Studies in the Arts & Humanities. Soon after his arrival, he was appointed as the advisor for Trillium.

“It’s very exciting,” he said of his position with the magazine. “It’s great to sit with folks who also have a lot of passion for the written word and other forms of art.”

“I think having a college literary magazine in a place for young artists and writers…is so crucial in building confidence,” Cagle noted. Trillium provides students with the chance to get early experience in publishing, which can be tough as a young creator. 

While submissions for the fall issue have closed, Trillium plans on producing a spring edition in 2024. 

“I’ve always wanted to be a part of something that’s being revamped, I blame that excitement on my interest in underdog stories,” Gonzalez-Ramirez said. “Even though we’re not competing in anything, my goal is for Trillium to become widely recognized and no longer have people ask, ‘What’s that?’”

For more information on the publication, check out their Instagram @trillium.rcnj. For any questions, contact trillium@ramapo.edu.




Featured photo by Amanda Jones