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Lit Mag Foundation Calls Foul on Critique

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While we at the Podium Foundation appreciate any attention from a magazine as stylish as Style Weekly, we have a quibble about Don Harrison's review of our second annual literary journal (“Podium's Second Stand,” Arts & Culture, June 16).

Mr. Harrison, while positively reviewing the written and design contents of the journal, remarks that Richmond's high-school youth are often neglected — true that — but he goes a step too far when he remarks that Podium had somehow given these kids short shrift when we employed professional actors to perform their words rather than let the students themselves act them out.

Mr. Harrison's observation could not be more wrong. Writers of all ilk see their works translated, edited, transformed by the talents of others. Playwrights and screenplay writers rarely perform their own words. Also, Mr. Harrison is naive if he believes that the same kids who wrote, drew and designed so beautifully for Podium may also have the requisite talents to perform in public, especially on a large stage like Dogwood Dell. In fact, we heard from many of our student writers who were thrilled to hear their works read by a movie actress, the superintendent of schools, a TV personality, a professional columnist and a cadre of gifted and well-rehearsed professional actors.

Mr. Harrison penned his review before the Dogwood Dell event. Consequently, he could not have seen the audience laugh, cry and applaud wildly. Inexplicably, he felt the authority to opine. I find this journalistically dishonest. Still, his heart is clearly in the right place to believe that Richmond's children must be seen, supported and appreciated. His pen, however, was far off base when he lumped Podium into the forces that neglect these kids. Podium stands with and for them. Mr. Harrison should get to know us better. He'd approve.
David L. Robbins
Chair and Co-Founder
The Podium Foundation

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