Jaunā Gaita nr. 290. Rudens 2017



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JG 290


On the frontispiece we note the passing of internationally renowned architect Gunārs Birkerts (1925-2017). He designed many buildings all around the world, including the Latvian National Library in Rīga (the Castle of Light), and a projected expansion of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia (the House of the Future).

We also remember poet and writer Ingrida Vīksna (1920-2017), who for 27 years the edited the newspaper Latvija Amerikā (Latvia in America). Her colleague Vita Gaiķe writes that her contagious enthusiasm and creative energy inspired everyone she worked with.


  • Artist/writer and long-time contributor Lidija Dombrovska presents some of her latest poems and a meditation on the painterly art in the form of a dramatic dialog.

  • Also featured are selected poems from a debut collection by Dainis Deigelis, a young but accomplished poet in Latvia.

  • Vladis Spāre’s short story, titled “Strawberries for the Little Brother”, is from his collection Forgotten Conversations in Old Rīga.

  • We offer excerpts from two new books: (1) Andra Manfelde’s latest, due to be published by the end of the year, is a children’s book titled Who Among Us Will Fly? It is based on her experiences living in Karosta, the former Soviet naval base in Liepāja, Latvia. (2) Lāsma Gaitniece’s debut novel, Summer Cottage in Pārdaugava, is a family saga dedicated to the memory of Valda Ošs-Lamonde (1935-1968), the first female Latvian civil aviation pilot.

  • Finnish-Latvian writer Jukka Rislakki documents testimony from many contemporary writers on the profound effect the children’s books of Alberts Kronenbergs (1887-1958) have had on them: “These Books Made Us Feel at Home”.


  • We celebrate our art editor Linda Treija, recipient of this year’s annual Ēriks Raisters Memorial Award for journalism in service to the Latvian community. Sarma Muižniece Liepiņa gives a comprehensive account of Treija’s career as an artist and teacher of art.

  • Linda Treija was a curator of the art exhibition at this summer’s XIV U.S. Latvian Festival of Song and Dance in Baltimore. Her report on that exhibition features photoreproductions of some of the art displayed, including her own, a diptych titled “White Book”. The cover of this issue is a detail from that work.


  • Juris Šlesers writes about the fate of Latvian patriots caught up in heroic holdout against the Soviets in the ensieged Courland peninsula at the end of WWII. Two recent books have brought fresh light to the subject: Draudu un cerību lokā (Encircled by Threat and Hope), by Uldis Neiburgs, and Blood in the Forest, by Vincent Hunt.

  • The fifth installment of Madara Eversone’s history of the Latvian Writers Union under Soviet occupation describes swings of repression and “thaw” during the decade of the 1960’s.

  • Publicist, author and popular commentator Otto Ozols delivers a “Speech from the King of Latvia” detailing in dire detail the demographic condition of the Latvian nation.

  • Halliki Harro-Loit, professor of journalism at the University of Tartu, Estonia, contemplates “Three Paradoxes of Journalism in a State of Information Pollution”.

  • Anita Liepiņa reports on a house of worship recently built on an island in the Daugava River by practitioners of Latvian folk religion, Dievturība. Its congregation has applied for equal status with Christian congregations to be eligible for financial support from the state.


  • Juris Šlesers reviews Jukka Rislakki’s Vilki, velni un vīri (Wolves, Devils and Men), about the life and art of Alberts Kronenbergs.

  • Lāsma Gaitniece reviews two novels, Istaba (The Room), by Laima Kota and Duna, by Inga Ābele, both from a series published by Dienas grāmata, on the history of the 20th century.

  • Anita Liepiņa reviews The Girl from Riga, a WWII refugee memoir by Sibilla Hershey, written for an English-language readership.

  • Vita Gaiķe enumerates and briefly describes books published in the Latvian language since our summer issue.

This issue ends with a new section titled Slidenā slīpe (Slippery Slope). Antons A. Acuraugs, a contributor of wicked humor back in the early days of our magazine in the 1950’s, brings to light some history involving a black temple in ancient Athens, eerily similar to a well-known black temple in contemporary Rīga.


Jaunā Gaita