The literary magazine Tempered Steel held one of many writer’s workshops last week at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
The workshop was a relaxed, unconventional critique session where writers from different backgrounds convened to offer constructive criticism of original poems and short stories.
Tempered Steel, formerly the Hungry Eye, began in 1994. The magazine’s mission is to create an awareness and literary presence on campus and the community of Pueblo to entertain, educate and enlighten.
Harley Westerholt, the events coordinator, said the workshop is a sort of outlet for writers on campus.
“We have a workshop like this so that other writers can come together and meet other writers, and share stories, hear stories and get good advice,” he said.
Patricia Garcia, the secretary and online editor, said the workshop is for anyone on campus who wants to strengthen their writing skills.
“People can send whatever they want to submit; non-fiction, fiction, poetry – all different kinds of writing. They just submit it to Tempered Steel, she said.
“Professor Lundberg from the math department showed up. You wouldn’t think he could write poetry; he’s a math guy,” Garcia said. “Anybody can come, (it’s) mostly students, faculty and staff. Those are the ones who know about it.”
Garcia said the workshop isn’t just for English majors.
“We’ve had math people, we’ve had sociological criminology people and we’ve got history people. Basically, anyone who loves to write can be a part of it,” she said.
Garcia said she wanted people to dive deeper into becoming a writer through these workshops, even though each member of Tempered Steel wants writers to get something different out of the workshops.
“It’s more of a personal journey for each staff member. I personally think that we can help change their stereotypes, their thoughts about what writing is and change it,” she said.
“A lot of people think writing and poetry is boring. I want to show people what writing could be. That’s my goal,” Garcia said.
Westerholt said he enjoyed the interaction between the writers during the workshop.
“I like to hear writer’s work. I like to get input from my own work from people and give input to people who come,” he said.
Garcia said the goal of the workshop is to help writers become better at their craft.
“I kind of like to help people that come…because when they come here, they have to go through the whole reading out loud and conquering their nerves,” she said.
“But in the end, I like to think that whatever advice we give them helps them to become better writers. That’s what I think this workshop is about,” Garcia said.
Garcia said Tempered Steel has plans to be bigger, but not in the near future.
“One day we would eventually like to go national and become one of the journals that everyone can submit to nationwide. That’s one of the long-term goals,” she said.
In the future, Garcia said Tempered Steel wants to do more than publishing books and holding writing workshops.
“We’d like to do different events like open-mic nights and bad poetry jams. Fun things that people could do,” she said.
Garcia said there are some things she would change for future workshops.
“We were pretty excited about the number of people that attended. At our workshop last year, maybe three or four people showed up. They either had to leave early or didn’t have enough stuff. So when this whole room filled up, we were like ‘Whoa’,” she said.
“It was incredible. So we would like to see more people, but we need a bigger room. I was thinking we might have to make it longer because right now it’s only an hour and a half and we didn’t cover everybody,” Garcia said.
If students missed the last workshop, Garcia said there will be many more to come.
“We’re going to have some more workshops in the future. We haven’t set any dates and we just have to make sure that we have everything up to par first,” she said.