Jaunā Gaita nr. 228, marts, 2002

JG 228

In this issue we introduce several artists new to our readers: Astrid Preston, a well-known painter of Latvian descent living in California, Viesturs Osvalds, a stained glass artist living in Virginia, and photographer Jānis Kļavinš, who lives in Rīga. Kļaviņš received first prize in the 1992 Ballantine's Finest competition for his photograph "Before the Storm". The work of these artists can be seen on pp. 8, 49 and 60.

Archeologist Sandis Laime contributes a fascinating article about ancient petroglyphs found in some 40 caves in Latvia. These petroglyphs contain hundreds of pictographs that are as yet undeciphered. When the meaning of these signs is unraveled, we will know a great deal more about the lives of ancient Latvians.

Biographies of two eminent Latvians of the previous century are presented here. Dagmāra Vallena writes about Helmars Rudzītis (1903-2001), the most successful Latvian publisher of his time, founder of the Grāmatu Draugs publishing house in prewar Latvia, which he refounded in New York after the war. Juris Žagariņš looks at the turbulent career of Alfreds Valdmanis (1908-1970), finance minister at age 29 of the Ulmanis government (1934-1940), and minister of economic development in the government of Newfoundland after it joined Canadian Confederation (1950-1954), as described in a biography by Gerhard Bassler (Alfred Valdmanis end the Politics of Survival. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000).

Andrievs Ezergailis examines the German occupation of Latvia during 1941-1945, taking a detailed look at German manipulation of the Latvian psyche through deliberate misuse of the terms of "liberation", "self defense" and "voluntary participation" in their propaganda and directives to the population. Ezergailis concludes that Latvians have yet to analyze this period.

We have translations of poetry by Zbigniew Herbert and Charles Simic by Maija Meirāne, Andreas Gryphius (1616-1664) and Horatius (658 B.C.) by Jānis Krēslinš and Fernandu Pesoa by Laima Kalniņa. We present sections of the Koran in Latvian, part of a work in progress by Uldis Bērzinš. Gundars Gulbis contributes a story about a bibliophile's midlife crisis as he admits that not all of the books he has collected so far are worthy of a place on his bookshelves.

Conductor Arvīds Purvs reviews three recently published collections of the choral music of Latvian composers who spent much of their lives in exile: Jānis Kalniņš, Helmers Pavasars and Ādolfs Abele. Purvs points out that the music of exile composers is little known and not easily accessible in Latvia, and that these volumes greatly mitigate this problem. Biruta Sūrmane summarizes the life of composer Viktors Baštiks (1912-2001) who will be remembered for his superb religious cantatas.

Nikolajs Bulmanis describes his impressions of New York and its art scene since the 9/11 attacks. He notes that, contrary to his expectations, the lights of Broadway are as bright as ever and the pace of life in the city has not slowed, even though New Yorkers themselves admit to the loss of their sense of freedom and infinite possibility.

There are six book reviews in this issue. Gundars Pļavkalns discusses Pauls Bankovskis' psychological crime novel A Woman of Soviet Latvia. Bibliographer Benjaminš Jēgers compares Pēteris Vanags' The Sources of the Lutheran Handbook with previous work by the same author. Juris Silenieks looks at the poetry collections of two enfants terribles of the Luna circle of writers, Marts Pujāts and Kārlis Vērdiņš. Nora Kūla introduces Anita Rožkalne's collection of interviews with eight Latvian authors. Aina Siksna describes Nora Ikstena's The Instruction of the Virgin as a mixture of reality and mysticism, a "fresh and original phenomenon in Latvian literature". Juris Silenieks discusses the evolution and recent issues of the literary journal Karogs.

Juris Žagariņš presents a discussion from the Internet about the benefits and hazards of economic globalization particularly as it relates to Latvia.

The final item is a playful poem where Dāvis L. Stabulītis (nom de plume of Tālivaldis Stubis) mixes English and Latvian lines, maintaining a consistent metre and rhyme through the poem's eight verses. He effectively uses words that sound identical in English and Latvian (e.g. spīd - speed, clips - klibs) in his rhyme scheme.

The recipient of last year's Jānis Bieriņš Memorial Prize is poet Pēteris Cedriņš, who previously lived in the USA but is now in Latvia.

The cover is by Vitauts Sīmanis.

Ilze Valdmanis

Jaunā Gaita