Jaunā Gaita nr. 201, jūnijs 1995

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JG 201


Latvian exile literature in the 1960s and 1970s saw the emergence of rebellious new talents, who found a natural home in Jaunā Gaita. Valda Dreimane-Melngaile (1932 - 1994) was an energetic participant in this movement, both as a leading poet and as the poetry editor of JG. It is fitting, then, that this issue features the transcript of a lengthy interview by Ilze Raudseps with Valda Dreimanis, recorded a few years before her death in 1994. Its main focus is her personal life from early childhood in Latvia, the war years, life in the refugee camps in postwar Germany, her early love of poetry and literature, life in the USA and her development as a poet and exceptional human being. Dreimane's sister Maira Reinbergs contributed many personal photographs to accompany the interview.

The Baltic Path to Independence, edited by Adolfs Sprūdžs, is an essential source for anyone interested in the process leading to the renewed independence of the Baltic States in 1991. Zigurds L. Zīle judiciously reviews the findings of the contributors who analyze the crises in the Soviet Union and Gorbachev's ambivalent role in allowing the growth of popular Baltic national movements, which quickly developed their own independent momentum.

The fact that Latvia's annexation was never recognized de jure by many western nations speeded up the acceptance of its regained independence in the international community. Gunars Zvejnieks reviews a collection of articles by Mintauts Čakste, published in Stockholm in 1994 on the centenary of Čakste's birth, and describes the contribution of Čakste, former justice of the Supreme Court of Latvia and the son of the first President of Latvia, Jānis Čakste, toward achieving the non-recognition of the incorporation of Latvia into the Soviet Union. Čakste's numerous articles (e.g. "Two aggressions compared", Baltic Review, 1948) and his active participation in congresses of international law helped keep the issue of Latvia's legal right to independence alive.

Ainars Dimants contributes an article in which he is critical of the movement to elect the President of Latvia by popular vote - in his opinion it is an attempt to destabilize the constitution of Latvia.

There is a rich vein of poetry in this issue: Ivars Lindbergs, Voldemārs Avens, Aina Zemdega, Jānis Krēsliņš, Juris Zommers, Austris Runģis, Lalita Muižniece, Maija Meirāne, Valters Nollendorfs, Karmena Kurzemniece, Modris Zeberiņš, and Lidija Dombrovska are our contributing authors. Several poems in this issue are dedicated to the recently deceased writers Valda Dreimane, Valdis Krāslavietis. Tālivaldis Ķiķauka contributes a short story titled "Erella".

Pauls Dambis, himself an eminent composer, writes about Latvian composers in the second half of the 20'th century. Rolfs Ekmanis, an eminent journalist and critic, evaluates the writings of the late journalist Viktors Neimanis. Anita Liepiņa reviews a collection of essays by the late Guna Blūma, who was also an editor of Jaunā Gaita, while Taņa Suta and Romāns Suta remind us of the greatness, both as an artist and a human being, of Jēkabs Kazaks (1895 - 1920).

Having passed the milestone of 200 issues the editors of JG naturally have been pondering what has been achieved and possibilities for the future. Valters Nollendorfs, a founding editor of JG, first tackled these questions in 1991 when Latvia regained its independence, as part of an internal editorial debate. Now, 3 years later, upon re-examination he finds his conclusions to be still valid: JG will continue to have a role as an outlet for "exile" Latvian writers and thinkers, who can contribute an independent perspective on difficult issues facing Latvia today.

The frontispiece is by Haralds Norītis, and the cover by Voldemārs Avens. The drawing on this page is by Maira Reinbergs, a tribute to her sister Valda Dreimane.

J.Z., L.Z.

Jaunā Gaita