Hi! My name is Eileen Ellis, and I am one of the co-editors of Opus Literary & Arts Magazine.

Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but this semester has been a doozy. I mean, reeeaaally a dooooozy. And if you know me, you’ll have already heard me complain endlessly about my parking ticket and my dog pretending to be on her deathbed just for attention and my midterm grades… which is why I’m writing this blog post to share some happy news.

Being this close to the holiday break means it’s time for Opus Soup, our end-of-the-semester celebration of the amazing artists and writers at Hope College!

This semester’s Opus Soup will be held at
7 PM on Thursday, December 8th,
in Winants Auditorium (Graves Hall).

If you haven’t yet, please RSVP to attend! The link for guests (everyone who is not a published writer/artist) is here

At this event, writers will read their work and artists will display their artwork. And although there isn’t any soup (although, BYOS if you so choose), there will be some delicious pretzels from Knot Spot and editions of this semester’s gorgeous magazine! 

As a sneak peek into our upcoming issue, this blog post features the editor’s letters written by Adriana Barker and me about this semester’s edition.

But before you read the letters, be sure to follow us on our multitude of social media pages:

And now, without further ado, here are the editor’s letters for Opus Fall 2022.

A Letter from Adriana Barker

When I became a Co-Editor of Opus, I got a key to the old Opus office in the basement of DeWitt. When I walked into that little windowless room for the first time, I stood silently and stared at the hundreds of copies of Opus magazines that lined the walls. 

Opus represents an artistic community at Hope going back until our first issue in 1954. I was awed and overwhelmed by the responsibility of Co-Editor, of taking a place that hundreds of editors have taken before me, and assuming partial control of an organization that has been around far longer than I have been alive. I was given the opportunity to take my place in line and serve my fellow authors and artists by shepherding their work and presenting it to the community in beautiful bound form. 

I have loved every minute of my time on the Opus staff. In my short time as a part of this magazine, I have experienced some incredible changes – we built a website, moved to a new office, set submission records in all three categories, set new records to beat those records, saw more people come to meetings, added new staff positions, and changed the size of the printed magazine. When I first stood in front of the long line of Opus books, wondering at my place in the line of editors past and future, I could not imagine the things we would go on to accomplish in such a short time. I am extremely proud of Opus. I am extremely grateful for my time as editor. And I will deeply miss this organization and its people. 

It takes a village to run Opus. If you have been a part of my Opus journey – you know who you are. No written thank you is enough to capture the love and appreciation I feel for each of you. 

I extend a special thank you to Eileen Ellis for being an awesome second half this semester. It has been an incredible joy to see you take on the Co-Editor position, and I am confident Opus will continue to thrive under your smart, funny, and sincere leadership. 

On a less serious note, I have an announcement to make. I made an absurd bet with myself when I was a freshman. I challenged myself to get some piece of horse-related art published in Opus every semester of college, and, drum roll please – I have completed that goal successfully! I am very proud of all my art, especially my horse-related and often Texas-inspired work. This fun bet with myself directly inspired my choice for the cover design of this semester’s issue. This is the only cover I have designed during my time at Opus, and I think it captures a part of my unique mark on this organization’s history. 

With love, Adriana Barker

A Letter from Eileen Ellis

When I was interviewed for the position of co-editor, I was in the middle of nowhere – some small town in Ireland about a 30-minute drive from Kylemore Abbey. In that interview I was asked something along the lines of what made me qualified for the position. I explained that I had been a contributor and a prose-editor, and the next obvious step was to become a co-editor. I believed that my experience in the previous two positions had adequately prepared me to be a co-editor. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was a lie: no other position in Opus prepares you to be a co-editor.

However, there is a person who prepared me, and that would be the one and only Adriana. A few things you should know about her:

  • She wears different eye makeup almost every day.
  • She’s an unapologetic horse girl.
  • She says “there’s a poem in that” at least once a day.
  • She’s the reason I joined Opus in the first place, and I can’t thank her enough for her relentless pestering of our entire ENGL 354 class to get involved. 
  • She arguably cares about Opus more than anyone else on Hope’s campus.

I admit, her leadership, dedication, and passion are intimidating – I often wonder if I will be able to live up to the vigor I’ve seen her display as a co-editor. I certainly hope to. 

Confession time. Opus is about to enter a very transitional period: before the end of the spring semester, I will have to find my replacement and fill at least three additional editorial positions. I’m anxious about the coming months, but I am not the first co-editor to face such hurdles. Opus is old and these challenges are not new – part of the legacy of Opus is its ability to overcome hardships and not only survive but thrive. 

In “Remembering Opus: A Fragmentary Look Back” Jack Ridl commended “The Legacy of imagination, courage, pluck, spunk, spit, talent, and intelligence that Opus has left these 50 years!”

At the very least, I definitely have spit – so really, what is there to fear?


Eileen Ellis

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *