Having never visited the Henry Miller Library, I had no idea what to expect from Ping Pong, the Library’s annual art and literary journal. When it arrived, I was impressed with the exceptional production quality: thick and glossy paper, beautiful print, vivid and colorful art pieces and, yes, the work inside the journal was striking, too.
The front matter states that “in the spirit of Henry Miller, Ping Pong encourages and supports free thinking and free expression.” I was happy to see that the editors chose a variety of writing and art to represent Miller’s spirit, and although he was referred to outright in some of the works (such as Suzanne Ryan’s opening poem, “Henry Miller Haiku”), his presence is only notional in others, which further heightened the feeling that this journal is a celebration of expression rather than an ode to one man’s work.
Honestly, there’s a lot of great stuff in this issue; truly memorable pieces include Brandi Walker’s haunting nonfiction “Letters from Southern Sudan,” Vladimir Kush’s movement-rich art pieces, and Anthony Hawley’s progressive “Productive Suffix.” Charles Bernstein’s “Henry Miller on Music” is a thoughtful recollection of his personal encounter with Miller’s “music blasphemy.”
Editor Maria Garcia Teutsch says in her introduction that “all of the artists and writers contained [within this edition of Ping Pong] speak a kind of truth we are honored to publish.” After finishing Ping Pong, I have to say that I agree completely.