Jaunā Gaita nr. 63, 1967
JG 63 brings poems by Pāvils Johansons, Sweden, Ivars Lindbergs, U.S.A., Velta Sniķere, England, and Aina Zemdega, Canada. There is a prose work by Jānis Sarma, Australia, and a fragment of the novel Fuglane (The Birds, translated from Norwegian) by Tarjei Vesaas (b. I897), one of the foremost Scandinavian writers today. Tarjei Vesaas' prose is a powerful art of intricately intertwined tensions, saturated within each individual's sphere to the point of explosion. Fuglane, illustrative of this highly personal world, is admittedly "but for certain reservations, a self-portrait", we learn from the accompanying essay by Gunars Irbe, who visited the writer and his wife the poet Halldis Moren Vesaas last summer at Midtbe, their home near Ytre Vinje in Telemark, Norway. Irbe sees in Vinje's landscape a physical model of the inner, perhaps unconscious, structure of Vesaas' novels and short stories: the linear dimensions of the geophysical planes could be envisioned as intersecting trough points high and low, thus casting the configuration of the relationships among his men and women. (Available in English: The Ice Palace and The Seed, Peter Owen, London, 1966.)
The composer Longīns Apkalns, W. Germany, surveys the latest developments in Latvian music under Soviet occupation. Composers, who must meet the demands of 'Socialist aesthetics', produce musical works to fit the following headings: arrangements of folk music in 19th c. style; imitations of 19th c. classical and romantic technique; songs for massed choruses. Art suffers from ideological tutelage and inept leadership by non-professionals.
Writing about problems in contemporary Latvian poetry in exile, the poet and critic Gundars Pļavkalns, Australia, quotes several voices deploring the loss of genuineness and simplicity. He defines genuineness as resulting both from the poet's identification with the poem's subject matter and from an individual point of view. Simplicity may result from an unsophisticated world view or from simplified expression. Comparing the genuineness and simplicity achieved in the poetry in question with that written in independent Latvia, he finds the difference slight in itself, but looming large in the eyes of the older generation, for whom P, broader intellectual basis is unacceptable in poetry.
Jāzeps Lelis, U.S.A. evaluates attitudes and achievements of individuals and organizations in exile and finds them lacking both in clearcut plans for present action and in a vision for the future. He sees the centuries of political dependence as the root of this political immaturity.
In the section Echoes, Laimonis Mieriņš reports on the conductor Arvīds Jansons (b. 1914), Pēteris Dardzāns on the historian Edgars Anderson: (b. 1920), and O.B. on Latvian architects and their publication.
Of the seven books reviewed, two are collections of poetry by Klāra Zāle and by Aina Kraujiete, winner of the Zinaīda Lazda prize for poetry. There are four new prose works: v. war novel by Dzintars Kiršteins, a family novel by Arturs Voitkus, a childhood memoir by Eduards Salna and a collection of short experimental prose by Oļģerts Rozītis. Voldemārs Bastjānis' Democratic Latvia, memoirs of a politician, completes the list of books reviewed in this issue of Jaunā Gaita.