Jaunā Gaita nr. 278. Rudens 2014


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JG 278



It has been said of poet Dace Micāne-Zālīte that she brings a new aesthetic to Latvian poetry, strongly rooted in Latvian tradition and just as strongly in the traditions of other lands. A selection of ten of her more recent poems is dedicated to her mother Gunta Micāne, a philologist and poet, who recently passed away.

In the current excerpt from Ainārs Zelčs’ novel Abrene 2002, a fictional history of a prosperous Latvia that never experienced WWII, there is a troubling hint of “separatism” brewing near the eastern border with Russia.

In “The First Stone”, prose writer Sabīne Košeļeva narrates an intimate conversation with a troubled Bosnian woman who desperately needs to be not needed.

A prose poem by Uldis Bērziņš is dedicated to actress Rūta Broka (1946-2014) on her “billionth spring.”

Poets Liāna Langa and Juris Kronbergs give voice to the anxiety many feel over the ever more overt and all-out war between Russia and Ukraine.

Paulis Birznieks delivers a poetic paean to the new National Library of Latvia (Castle of Light), designed by Gunārs (Gunnar) Birkerts.



Our art editor Linda Treija describes the work of Signe Vanadziņa (see reproductions on pp. 21 and 39).

Art historian Elita Ansone reports on an exhibit of Vija Celmiņa’s paintings (see pp. 1 and 68), which she curated in Rīga this summer.

Vilnis Titāns (1944-2006) was a sculptor on a grand scale. Art historian Māris Brancis writes, all Latvia is covered with his work a testament to his titanic contribution to Latvian culture.

Mārtiņš Lasmanis reflects on the magic of Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin and the role played by Latvian singers, conductors and scenarists in its historic productions.

We sample Uldis Briedis’ artful landscape photography on pp. 14 and 73.

Brencis Sils designed the cover for this issue.



Essayist Sanita Upleja reflects on the depth of meaning in the Latvian word dārgā (dear, precious) as we apply it to our nation when we sing our national anthem.

In part III of his account of the life of poet Māris Čaklais, Rolfs Ekmanis gives an overview of Čaklais’ poetic creation and its critical reception in the 1970s  and 1980s. He characterizes Čaklais as an exemplary editor of literary texts – cleverly circumventing pressure from the Soviet regime, unstinting in personal attention to detail.

Juris Šlesers’ essay “From the Ashes – a Phoenix”, is based on a reading of Uldis Neiburgs’ 2014 book God! Your Land is Aflame! / Latvian War Stories from WWII (Dievs, Tava zeme deg! / Latvijas Otrā pasaules kara stāsti).

In the current installment of his in-depth study of witchcraft in northeastern Latvia, Sandis Laime looks at recorded descriptions of the physical appearance of witches.

Playwright/memorialist Uldis Siliņš continues his story of life in a post-war refugee camp in Germany. He describes the screening process to separate civilians from ex-combatants as well as Soviet attempts to lure the DP’s (displaced persons) back home.

One of the chief editors of the Latvian weekly news magazine Ir, Pauls Raudseps writes on the long life and rich career of economist Nikolajs Balabkins, who insists that the proper foundation of the science of economics is a non-mathematical understanding of human nature.

In the section called “In a Few Words” our editors present a summary of cultural news relevant to Latvia and its diaspora, as well as brief commentaries on sociopolitical actualities everywhere, especially Donetsk and Gaza.



Irēne Avena reviews Nicholas Balabkins’ memoir Forged by Reality: The Making of an Economist in Latvia, Germany and America.

Lāsma Ģibiete reviews Divpadsmit Latgales loki kopā ar Annu Rancāni (Twelve tours in Latgale with Anna Rancāne).

Gundega Zēhauza (Seehaus) reviews Anita Skrjabe’s akmensrite (rolling stone), a book of poetry.

Aija Rozenšteine reviews Vladislav Todorov’s Dzifts, a detective story in the roman noir genre translated into Latvian from the Bulgarian (Дзифт) by Dens Dimiņš.

Gundars Ķeniņš Kings examines the Journal of Baltic Studies 45/1(2014).                                                    




Jaunā Gaita