Those of you who know me personally can attest that I cannot stop talking about Opus, so I have a little space on this page to ramble more about why I love Opus so much and the things that make this issue so cool.
I’m going to start with something I usually distance myself from – numbers. (Hey, I’m a Creative Writing major, I’m legally obligated to hate math.) In this book, you will find 41 people published. We had 45 poets, 29 visual artists, and 13 prose authors submit work. We looked at 130 poems, 103 visual art pieces, and 15 prose pieces for a grand total of 248 submissions. I am in love with our artsy/writerly community. Everyone is so talented and we are lucky to be able to steward your submissions.
This semester, we had a bunch of new friends join us at Opus meetings! Our seven contributors brought their unique taste and opinions to our meetings, and we were blessed by their presence. We also added some friends to our editorial staff. To our whole team: Katie, Emma, Rebekah, Kallen, Krystyna, and Rachel – thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to the craziness that was Opus this semester. We very literally cannot do what we do without y’all.
Across the pages of this book you will find work that ranges from abecedarian poetry to glitch art. There’s a painting made with a hammer, there’s a short story about a space sailor, there’s a charcoal and graphite rendering of the DePree basement hallway, and there’s a script for a satirical nature documentary. What I love about Opus is that we get to highlight all of this amazing work and cheer on the fabulous students who are creating it.
Speaking of fabulous students, I have to take a little time to write about my amazing Co-Editor, Violet. I can truly say there is nothing more amazing than getting to work side-by-side with someone you look up to. I didn’t know what to expect coming into this role, but Violet from the beginning was someone I could share my honest fears, hopes, and ideas with. Our partnership has brought with it some amazing steps for Opus – we built a freaking website, y’all – and I am incredibly proud of where we have brought this organization in such a short time.
I love Opus, and I love this edition. As always, I can’t wait to do it again next semester!
Let me start by saying that Opus has brought me many friendships that have shaped me as a person and my career at Hope College. This is my fourth semester being a Co-Editor for Opus and my seventh semester as a member of the Opus Staff.
Opus has given me a creative space that I think is uniquely Hope-ish. I don’t think there is an undergraduate arts and literary magazine like ours anywhere else. Hope’s liberal arts education allows us to see work from various backgrounds and majors. Every semester Opus has public meetings that are open to anyone from campus, and we critique work that is from all types of artists and all types of mediums. Then once each piece has been looked at, we contact each artist and give them the critique from meetings, whether they were at the meetings or not, so that we are able to foster a progressive and growing artistic community.
For this semester’s cover and book design I took a very personal approach. Earlier in the semester I was browsing an antique store and stumbled upon some postcards from the 1900s to 1970s. It was a really great way to peek into history and see what people had kept as souvenirs. My best friend described this issue as my last letter to Opus, so I took that idea and ran with it. I see this as a souvenir and letter to myself and Opus — the design is inspired by old Opus issues and the postcards I loved. The design is a way to reflect on my past work from Opus and play with the new format in a way I find exciting.
Opus is wonderful because it works outside of the classroom critique atmosphere. We as editors strive for open and honest communication in all of the spaces we inhabit. Opus has allowed me to really build my skills as an editor and artist, but also as a mentor outside of the classroom. It is exciting to see conversations from Opus bleed into the critiques in my art classes.
I have had the privilege of working with many editors who have shaped my understanding on art and my own artistic work. I am grateful to each staff member who has helped me along the way of my journey — thank you to Julia Kirby for starting me on this journey and to the editors that follow for carrying it on after me. I am especially indebted to this semester’s staff for keeping up with Adriana and I in what has been a whirlwind of a semester. I will miss Opus and the community that has flourished around it. This magazine is the last one I will design for Opus, and I see it as a postcard to my past self. A remembrance of all the love and support that Opus has given me.
Every Spring, the Opus Editors reach out to Hope Staff or Visiting Writers to judge all of the works from the school year for the Eerdmans’ Prize. The Eerdmans’ Prize honors the best of the year in poetry and prose.
For Spring 2022, the winner of the Eerdmans’ Prize in Poetry is Claire Buck for her poem “Recovery.” The winner of the Eerdmans’ Prize in Prose is Emma Compton for her piece “Worth a Thousand Words; A Dedication to my Love.” Congratulations to the two deserving winners!
Contributors at Opus attend our public meetings, contribute to critique, and vote on which pieces make it into the magazine. To become one, you must attend at least three meetings over the course of a semester. Other than attendance there are no requirements for joining!