Art critique

Collaboration, criticism and creativity: everything you need to know about OPUS

OPUS, the literary magazine that has been present at Hope College for decades, will release its latest edition on Thursday, December 9. What can we expect from this year’s edition? What will the OPUS soup look like? And how the hell do they choose the pieces to be presented? We interviewed co-editor, Violet Peschiera (’22), as well as artistic writer, Rachel Douma (’24), to give us some insight into these questions.

Update on a typical meeting

The meeting is organized in such a way that participants read poetry for the first third, then engage in an art viewing session, then directly resume poetry reading. After reading or viewing each piece, there is approximately five minutes of review.

There are quite a few employees who make up OPUS and attend the meetings: there are two co-editors who take care of the animation, make sure that the poetry and the art are distributed equally and then later design. books. Then there is an art editor, a poetry editor, and a prose editor. They attend every meeting to critique what is seen, and then at the end of the meeting process, they send rejection and acceptance letters to every person who has submitted a job. Finally, there are the contributors. If you attend three or more meetings, you are recognized in the OPUS book as a contributor.

When the co-editors, Peschiera and Adriana Barker (’23), get ready for a reunion, they choose poetry and artwork to watch for the night. This year there have been around 96 poetry submissions and 75 art submissions, so there is a lot to do in a few meetings. It is important to note here that only a third of the poetry and half of the art entered there.

Violet Peschiera (’22), co-editor of OPUS.

The beauty of OPUS is that all of the plays that are read and viewed are anonymous, and Peschiera commented on that saying, “I think the best part of [OPUS meetings] it’s that the editors and I, and everyone at the meeting, sort of go there with no idea what we’re doing. We don’t know what we’re going to see. We don’t have any preconceived ideas. You don’t need to know what’s going on in meetings at all because even co-editors don’t know what kinds of pieces they’re going to see.

Another thing Peschiera and Douma agreed on was that they both like being able to collaborate with their peers – they could look at art and read poetry all day. “It’s this active collaboration of artists and the community that I really love,” Peschiera said.

How OPUS Editors Define and Approach Criticism

This is how Peschiera says she approaches the critique of poetry:

“We take care of certain things:

  1. Punctuation, but you can always talk about it with the person and then do some touch-ups.
  2. Capitalization
  3. The way that [the poem] look on a page, because poetry is so much about accuracy and judicious use of page space. It has its own sense of art when you look at it that way. So sometimes we’ll talk about breaking a line or cutting a particularly long line because it just doesn’t fit the part.
Rachel Douma (’24), OPUS art editor.

Here’s how Douma approaches art criticism:

“I look at criticism in two ways: there is the side of my criticism, where I criticize technical skills and quality, and the other side is really just a personal opinion and a taste in the form of art. I don’t have a specific medium that I work with the most, so I tend to be everywhere with my personal work. I just watch it, and after I’m done technically criticizing it, I decide if I like it and if I like the direction the artist is going and from there.

But ultimately, opinions are subjective, which is why there is beauty in having so many eyes in OPUS meetings. Even sometimes Douma and Peschiera are sad when an article they like doesn’t get the majority of votes in the semester edition.

Another thing that is important to them in the OPUS review process is that everything is anonymous, so there is no bias. Peschiera said: “It’s something we’ve learned to inhabit: that air of criticism where, because we don’t know who it is, it looks a lot like honest ideas that come up.” Sometimes if you know what poem you’re reading or what piece of art you’re looking at, it can be hard to be downright honest, and normally the review is sugar coated.

Douma explained a bit how when someone’s work is discussed, they tend to be quiet and listen, so maybe anonymity is only to a certain extent, but it takes a willing person. so as not to give his opinion on his own. room.

“You have to get a little lost when you get a review because they don’t criticize you. Duma said, “They criticize this work, this period and this period of you, and you change from hour to day.” It can be hard not to take a review personally, but hearing what your peers have to say can certainly enhance your artistry if you consider the feedback that is given.

What can we expect to see at OPUS Soup?

OPUS Soup is a time when artists in publication can show their work on campus. Douma said: “I am really excited to see the faces behind the job that I loved so much.”

At Soup, many student authors will read their work and artists will present their work. There will be copies of the OPUS book to read and view as well as a hot chocolate to sip.

Peschiera is particularly excited about the cover of the book, which she had the privilege of designing. “We definitely went for a digital collage, something more daring. Definitely inspired by the ’80s and, like, new wave art styles. As well as the glitch and vaporwave aesthetic, where it’s pink and pixelated, and grids and marble heads sometimes, ”Peschiera said. “It’s very – what I would say, in terms of Tumblr – reminds me of the Tumblr days in college. So, it’s very nostalgic and fun.

And, on the theme of the theme, she also had a lot to say: “As far as the subject goes, we’ve gone through the whole range of things to do. I feel like a lot of people thought for a while that we were the nature poetry magazine, ”she said. “When I started at OPUS, there were a lot of things like ‘I hiked and an eagle came by and wow… nature.’ I also think it’s great and I love poetry, but now we have tons of weird poems, like, “Is a watch like a mother?” And many different types of medical issues, many on pretty serious topics like Black Lives Matter, minority voices, as well as sexual assault, life decisions, and a lot of grieving poetry. It’s really interesting to see how that has changed over the past year.

Peschiera is excited because there is no central theme in this semester’s edition, which is unlike anything the publication has done before. OPUS has certainly changed a lot over the past 50+ years, and it has come a long way in discussing serious topics that artists believe should be addressed, even if that means losing a clear theme in the book in its together.

So, get ready to read, get ready to watch art, and get ready to drink OPUS soup hot chocolate this semester.

PS Peschiera wanted me to let you know that there will be a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT at Soup, so get excited!

To find more information on OPUS, follow them on Instagram by clicking on the link here.