A blast from Opus past to inspire your future submissions


Here at Opus, our purpose is to show you off. You, the students of Hope College, make this journal what it is. For those who have submitted this semester: thank you. We love going over your work. You impress us, and it is my solemn wish that we could publish every single piece that we receive. For those who haven’t submitted: what are you waiting for?

If you’re wondering what you should submit, the answer is anything.

Poetry (traditional and non-traditional forms). Short stories. Flash fiction. Flash memoir. Personal essays. Scenes. Dialogues. For artists, sketches. Paintings. Sculptures. Photography. And you’re not limited to only these. If you’ve created anything that can be published in print, send it our way. The possibilities are endless.

This semester, I’ve jumped onto the Opus staff for the first time. After attending meetings as an observer throughout my freshman year, I was stunned by the creative prowess of Hope students, the intellect and care their work exudes. That’s the beautiful thing about writing and art — you can see the artist’s hand in all aspects of the work. Every word of poetry is so carefully chosen, every story so intricately crafted, every art piece so delicately molded, every photograph so artfully shot. My aim, joining the Opus staff as a co-editor this year, was to display as much of this talent as possible. And let me tell you, it has been the joy of my semester to watch all your writing and art flow into our inbox, to see the unique inventions of your minds.

Throughout the past few weeks, as we draw closer to the end of meetings and the beginning of forming our Fall 2020 edition, I’ve been flipping through some former editions of Opus for inspiration. The shelves of the Opus office are stuffed with old copies, and Lubbers 224 (the classroom that I’ve essentially adopted as my own this semester) has editions all the way back to the 1950s. In the spirit of proving to you that you can submit anything to us, I’ve pulled a few examples of unique works from past editions that (I hope!) might inspire your submissions in the future.

Spring 2006 edition

First off, we have what may be my favorite Opus cover of all time. It certainly tops the charts for uniqueness, featuring a color-by-number cartoon of author and former Hope professor Jack Ridl in the dress and stance of a superhero. A cover like this allows readers to interact with the book in a creative way. Another note: this edition featured an entire section devoted to satire. Students submitted satirical poems and stories, and a faculty member even sent in a satirical essay. If humor is more up your alley, send us your satire!

Spring 1988 edition

Simple things can go a long way in making your piece stand out. This author submitted a poem with doodles drawn in the margins, an effective addition that provides another layer of meaning to the piece. The doodles exhibit a free-flowing nature and attribute a personality to the piece as a whole.

Fall 2002 edition

In the spirit of creative collaboration, writers and artists are allowed to submit together! This submission features an artist’s colorful pieces overlaid with a writer’s poems. The interplay between the two mediums shows off the talents of both the poet and the artist. If you and a friend have collaborated on a piece like this, please share it with us!

Spring 1965 edition

This author took seriously the idea that your poetry should reflect your passions, having written the entire poem in French. We appreciate the diversity of pieces that Opus is known to publish, and poems written in languages besides English are no exception! The poem has such a beautiful sentiment and grounding in nature, proving that poetry is a universal language (I also really wish I could read this without Google Translate; maybe it could inspire readers to learn a new language!).

Spring 1987 edition

Though writing-wise we mostly receive poems and short stories, we encourage you to submit work in any format. Some older editions of Opus feature short scenes or dialogues such as this one. Theatre and film students: I’m talking to you. Use your skills in drama or your background in play/screen writing to write us a scene! Then, come to our meetings to watch us poorly act them out!

Winter 1960 edition

If I haven’t drilled it into your head enough throughout this post yet, I present my final reminder that you can submit anything to us, including music! Flipping through this edition instilled me with a desperation to whisk this copy to the music center and play one of the several piano compositions published (alas, coronavirus restrictions). Music is an art form in and of itself, drawing on both artistic and poetic qualities. Send your sheet music and songs our way!

I see Opus as a celebration. A celebration of not only your work but your minds. A celebration of the arts and the fascinating way they speak to each person in a different manner. A celebration of your talent, your efforts, and your view of humanity.

Opus is a glimpse into how Hope students view the world. We want our medium to be a platform to amplify your voices. Each and every piece of creative work has value, and we hope, regardless of whether or not your piece is accepted, that we can leave you with that encouragement to never stop creating.

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