Jaunā Gaita nr. 245, marts 2006
Aina Zemdega (1924-2006), a novelist and a poet, began to publish in exile after World War II. The series of gracefully joined episodes of her Parisian cultural reminiscences, printed in JG245, as it sadly turned out, is her last literary work in print. When Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope on October 16, 1978, few realized that a poet had ascended the Papal throne. Several of his poems have been translated by Maija Meirāne. Elīna Bākule, of the younger generation of poets, imbues her work with selfreflection and a certain defiance.
Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, the President of Latvia, and Professor Janīna Kursīte (U. of Latvia) have contributed words of farewell to Andrejs Eglītis (1912-2006), who is credited with at least 30 books, mostly poetry. He spent 53 years in exile before returning to his homeland in 1998. Rūta Puriņa discusses the poems of Roberts Mūks (1923-2005) who had close ties to the "Hell's Kitchen" group of Latvian poets and artists which was formed in New York City in the 1950's.
Eva Eglāja-Kristsone's (U. of Latvia) article about Valentīns Pelēcis (1908-1999), poet and author of several volumes of literary memoirs and many articles, is based on a rich array of unpublished primary material and provides a good glimpse into the life of an exile writer who was very critical of his adopted country - the United States.
Bārbala Stroda, English-language philologist (U. of Latvia) offers an engaging study of the genres of science fiction and science fantasy in Latvian literature through the period of Soviet rule. Ildze Kronta surveys Alberts Bels' trilogy of novels - Būris (The Cage), Labirints (The Labyrinth) and Vientulība (Loneliness) - and concludes that this work best reveals his world view and his search for spiritual strength. Lia Šmite presents some interesting thoughts about Socrates, who expressed his love and friendship in many ways.
Juris Zommers introduces the 2006 winner of the Jānis Bieriņš Prize - Elisa Freimane, director of the Latvian Summer High School in the U.S. state of Michigan.
Lilita Zaļkalne (Stockholm U.) describes historian Andrievs Ezergailis' activities in countering the lies and half-truths of Soviet propaganda regarding Latvian emigre organizations in Western Europe, Canada and the US.
Kiberkambaris (Cyberspace), compiled by Juris Žagariņš, reflects different viewpoints on the relations between Latvia and the Russian Federation. The Marginalia section offers a selection of short commentaries about recent Letonica (books, periodicals, music, art events, etc.).
We have reviews of Laima Muktupāvela's last fictionalized novel Mīla. Benjamiņa (Love. Benjamiņa, 2005) (Juris Silenieks), based on the life of the renowned (and notorious) Emīlija, the wife of the well-known Latvian publisher in the 1930's, Antons Benjamiņš. She died in the Siberian Gulag in 1942. Imants Ziedonis was one of the most important personalities of the 20th century Latvian cultural scene. His ne tas kādam jāzina (noone must know that, 2005) consists of short narrative travel pieces not included in his books, which were published during the Soviet era. They bring up memories of the past and some exhibit the writer's exasperated wit (Aina Siksna, Anita Liepiņa). Dr. Viktors Hausmanis, member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, is the leading researcher of "Latvian theatre in exile". This is also the name of his recent book Latviešu teātris trimdā (2005) (Rasma Birzgale). Bez ienaida un bailēm (Without Hostility and Fear, 2005) is Auseklis Zaļinskis' compilation of mainly personal remembrances by Latvian soldiers taken as prisoners in World War II (Rolfs Ekmanis). Prof. Rasma Kārkliņš in her The System Made Me Do It: Corruption in PostCommunist Societies (2004) categorizes corruption according to its different levels and forms (Gundars Ķeniņš-King). Linguists will appreciate information in our last review (by Rudis Hofmanis) of two Latvian grammar texts, originally published in 1904 for use in Latvian primary schools when Latvia was a part of the tsarist empire.
Prof. Ojārs Krātiņš (U. of California, Berkeley) evaluates Raimonds Staprans: Art of Tranquility and Turbulence (edited by Paul J. Karlstrom, University of Washington Press. 2006), containing reproductions of the San Francisco-based artist's representative works as well as essays about him by the Latvian minister of culture, Helena Demakova, and the art critic, Peter Selz. The paintings and lithographs are by Ilgvars Šteins and Ēriks Dukāts. Also, we have printed Afina Tilgale's photographic images which reveal a fascinating glimpse of the universe as seen by a Scanning ELectron Microscope. The cover is by Ilmārs Rumpēters.