Jaunā Gaita nr. 237, jūnijs 2004

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JG 237

The poetry section is dedicated exclusively to Māris Čaklais' (1940-2003) works, most about Riga, a city (founded in 1201) whose medieval charms he loved and memorably evoked in verse. Eva Eglāja-Kristsone, who is finishing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Latvia, surveys the varied responses to Ojārs Vācietis' (1933-1983) poetry by Latvian writers and critics in political exile. The prolific and dynamic Vācietis was a major writer during the Soviet rule in Latvia, also, a masterful translator of Mikhail Bulgakov's long prohibited novel The Master and Margarita. JG 237 pays tribute to the deceased poet, prose writer and critic Andrejs Irbe (1940-2004), who wrote both in Latvian and Swedish, and the cultural commentator and journalist Auseklis Zaļinskis (1918-2004).

Our contributing editor and literary scholar (Cornell U.), Inta Ezergaile, analyses the entire poetic output of Aina Kraujiete whose modernist verse of subtlety and finesse, frequently a mixture of surrealism and fantasy, reflects pain, fleeting moments of happiness, human encounters, love and parting, disappointment and solitude.

Ojārs Spārītis observes that the chaos of the transition from the Soviet state regime to a market economy has been largely overcome. However, this University of Latvia professor brings to notice some major problems in the proper maintenance and rebuilding of historical monuments, e.g., manor houses, castles, and churches, an important part of cultural heritage. The author of a novel and a short story collection, Egīls Venters in his essay, contemplates the paradoxical theme of history and fiction from the Crusades 800 years ago to, the present.

Our editor-in-chief, Rolfs Ekmanis, concludes his inside look at the personalities, achievements, and the sometimes tense interaction between the directors of the U.S. government radio station Voice of America and members of its Latvian broadcasting service during the Cold War era.

Laimonis Mieriņš reports the shock which greeted the selection of Grayson Perry as the winner of the Turner Prize (2003), from among the four artists exhibited at the London Tate Gallery. This year's

Jānis Bieriņš Foundation Prize (US $2 000) was awarded to Māra Gulēna for her innovative bilingual (Latvian and English) internet publication www.torontozinas.com, and for her role in the Latvian language TV (Toronto, Canada) program Sveiks!

The regular internet feature, provided by our contributing editor, Juris Žagariņš, centers around an interview with Tālrīts Krastiņš, who, amazingly, survived his 25 year sentence in a Siberian concentration camp for organizing an attempted assassination of the Latvian premier under the Soviets, Vilis Lācis (1903-1966), in 1946.

In the book review section, the linguist Dzidra Rodiņa analyses Lalita Muižniece's study of Latvian phonology, based on materials originally developed for the Latvian Studies Program at Western Michigan University. Juris Silenieks reviews the English translation of the Swedish writer Henning Mankell's detective novel The Dogs of Riga. The same reviewer discusses Vilnis Baumanis' novel set in post-war years in a displaced persons' camp in the American Zone of Germany. Valdemārs Ancītis looks at a regional biographical dictionary compiled by Viljars Tooms containing 1 630 entries. Astra Roze examines a collection which describes life in the Latvian region of Sēlija in the 19th century. Professor Gundars Ķeniņš Kings reviews the Winter 2003 issue of the Journal of Baltic Studies, whose editorial office has moved from the United States to the historical University of Tartu (Academia Gustaviana, founded in 1632), Estonia. Finally, Anita Liepiņa discusses two volumes of reminiscences by Andris Ritmanis, MD, covering the years that followed World War II when he, with tens of thousands of Latvians, was forced to leave his native land to suffer untold hardships. Nevertheless, he managed to preserve his creative impulses and his faith in humanity.

We are featuring color reproductions of the oil paintings by Gvīdo Augusts and Anda Andersone as well as two works by the internationally recognized art photographer Gunārs Binde. The cover is by Ilmārs Rumpēters.

Juris Zommers

Jaunā Gaita