Jaunā Gaita nr. 262. rudens 2010

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JG 262



  • Juris Helds, poet, actor and playwright, uses dream and reality as warp and weft in the images he weaves. “To me, poetry is like hunting for sparks in the dark, without  ever actually seeing the sparks.” Maija Meirāne introduces him as a noteworthy postmodern literateur. In this issue he contributes nine poems and a play Ko darīt? (What Is to Be Done?), in which a global rhino­ceros flu epidemic, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin risen from the dead, and a commissioner of the European Union, all converge on poor old Latvia to exacerbate its suffering to absurd levels.

  • Linda Treija reviews an exhibit of Vija Celmiņa’s paintings in New York last May, and introduces us to the art of Sigita Daugule and Laima Bikše in Latvia. Color reproductions of some of their paintings, Ilmārs Rumpēters’ dazzling cover, and photographic art by Gunārs Janaitis, Uldis Briedis and Uldis Grasis constitute the visual focus of this issue.

  • Andrejs Streļājevs is a pianist and organist, graduate of the Latvian Academy of Music, currently writing a doctoral dissertation on Latvian organ music at the University of Toronto. Helēna Gintere introduces him as a versatile and ambitious artist who especially enjoys the art of musically accompanying silent movie classics.


  • In the current installment of Eva Eglāja-Kristsone’s magnum opus on Latvian cultural contacts across the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, she  analyzes the opinions and attitudes of exile writers and critics toward Latvian literature produced under Soviet rule.

  • Almantas Samalavičius, associate professor of art history and art theory at Gediminas Technical University in Vilnius, Lithuania, author of numerous essays on cultural and literary criticism, surveys Lithuanian literary production since the renewal of national independence. He reports that, despite the distractions of freedom and the onslaught of electronic mass media, it has become “almost normal”.

  • Ansis Kaupēns (1895-1927) was a highway robber and serial killer who terrorized the countryside in Zemgale, Latvia, for six years until he was caught and hanged. His story has not faded from literary imaginings. Lāsma Ģibiete reviews three retellings of this story written within the last ten years: a musical by Māra Zālīte, a novel by Ingrīda Karstā and a nonfiction work by Andris Grūtups.


  • Aigars Bikše finds that the cause of our ongoing global economic crisis can be traced to an uncritical adoption of a pyramidal or Ponzi scheme for wealth generation by financial institutions, and insists that artists must assume responsibility for imagining and articulating a better model for human progress.

  • One of our Western misconceptions of Islam is that the Koran forces inhumane dress codes on women. Uldis Bērziņš, poet and translator of the Koran into Latvian, points out that it is not the Koran, but public opinion, that sets dress codes. This is true in the Islamic Near East just as it is in the „secular” West.

  • Rolfs Ekmanis details the history of the beginnings of Radio Free Europe and its growth from a shortwave broadcast capacity of 7.5 kW in 1949 to 250 kW in 1960.  Early on, attempts were made to send information across the Iron Curtain also via hydrogen-inflated weather balloons.

  • In Kiberkambaris, Latvians in far-flung corners of the globe engage in an internet discussion of the pros and cons of trying to stimulate the Latvian economy by encouraging the immigration of labor and talent from other countries.

  • In Marginalia, Vita Gaiķe, Biruta Sūrmane, Māris Brancis, Jānis Krēsliņš, Sr., and Rolfs Ekmanis succinctly and exhaustively cover the most important cultural and non-cultural events of relevance to Latvians around the world. Special mention is made of the Latvian Constitutional Court’s decision to deny Latvian citizenship to expatriates who did not apply before 1995, characterizing this as a policy of national suicide at a time when tens of thousands of Latvians are emigrating each year to find employment and to seek citizenship in more hospitable countries.


  • Ingrida Vīksna’s Es saku paldies (I Say Thank You), a voluminous compilation of her poetry on the occasion of her 90th birthday, and Gundega Repše’s latest short stories, Stāsti par mācekļiem (Stories about Disciples) – reviewed by Juris Silenieks

  • Nora Ikstena’s collection of observations and commentaries Šokolādes Jēzus (Chocolate Jesus) – Biruta Sūrmane

  • Gundars Ignats’ debut collection of short stories Bez jakas (Without a Sweater) – Astra Roze

  • Māris Brancis’ bilingual monograph on the life of artist Edgars Krūmiņš  – Voldemārs Avens

  • Michael Garleff’s (ed.) collection on the lives of important Baltic Germans Deutschbalten, Weimarer Republik und Drittes Reich – Jānis Krēsliņš, Sr..       


Jaunā Gaita