Jaunā Gaita nr. 241, jūnijs 2005

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JG 241

To commemorate the 1905 Revolution in Latvia, brutally suppressed by the tsarist Black Hundreds, we print two poems - by Vizma Belševica and Māris Čaklais.

The poetry section includes poems by Knuts Skujenieks, Marta Landmane and Lidija Dombrovska. All three touch on traits associated with mature age, e.g., comparing life to a box of buttons collected over the years: Each button / has its own experience, / its story. / History in the palm of her hand (Landmane). JG commemorates the poet Māris Melgalvs (1957-2005) with his own unpublished poem, "Friend of a Friend?"

In connection with the publication of the first volume of Jānis Krēsliņš' Collected Works (Rīga, 2004), Irēne Avena contributes a perceptive essay on his rich poetic output. Krēsliņš is mainly known as a cultural historian.

Anita Liepiņa discusses Elfriede Jelinek, the winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in literature. The prose writer, Marianna Ieviņa, reminisces about her acquaintance with the poet Aleksandrs Pelēcis during the first year of the Russian occupation (1940-1941) and the four years under the Germans (1941-1944). Already then, in his early twenties, he was a born poet, concludes Ieviņa, it seemed that poems fell from his every seam. Juris Zommers announces the recipient of the 2005 Jānis Bieriņš Memorial Prize, Dr. Maija Hinkle, a researcher at Cornell, founder of the „Mežābele" publishing house and director of a Latvian Oral History Project.

Anete Ivsiņa introduces the avant-garde Canadian painter of Latvian descent, Anda Kube. Voldemārs Avens summarizes the achievements of the artist and editor Arnolds Sildegs (1915 - 2003), the founder and editor of the slick art journal Latvju Māksla, published under the aegis of the American-Latvian Association. During its 25-year existence the magazine chronicled the work of Latvian artists in exile. Laimonis Mieriņš contributes a rather scathing review of the four finalists for the 2004 Turner Prize (London).

Gundars Ķeniņš-King, dean emeritus of the School of Business at Pacific University, looks at three recent books on Latvia's economic problems and prospects. His own book Economic Considerations for Latvia's Development (Rīga, 2005) is reviewed by Madara Krūmiņa. The second review article, by our editor Rolfs Ekmanis, is largely devoted to Imants Lešinskis (1931 - 1985), a member of the KGB who allegedly had served also the CIA, and who died „officially" from a heart attack in a suburb of the U.S. capital. In 1978, while working at the U.N. in New York, he requested political asylum. The translated excerpt from Jeremy Rifkin's book The European Dream (2004) convincingly confirms that the proverbial „American Dream" is outdated and no longer a viable goal for the great majority of Americans.

20 years ago, Latvia was under Soviet occupation. Lilita Zaļkalne recounts how, in order to focus the world's attention on this injustice, a group of young Balts in exile, assisted by two Baltic émigré organizations, planned and brilliantly executed the Baltic Freedom and Peace Cruise in the Baltic Sea on the ship Baltic Star. The highlight was a demonstration against the Soviet Union in Helsinki, bitterly opposed by the USSR, but supported by thousands of Finns who joined the demonstrators.

Prof. Alfreds Tauriņš records how he and his family, having found refuge in a small Bavarian hamlet, learned of the German capitulation in May 1945. Other historically significant topics in his diary - the organizing of refugee or DP camps; the founding of a Latvian gymnasium in Augsburg, where he taught chemistry; and the wonderful dedication of the faculty and the love of learning exhibited by the students at this impoverished institution.

We have reviews of Velta Sniķere's poetry collection (by Lalita Muižniece); Arvis Grods' (1933-2005) short stories (Juris Silenieks); Ilze Berzins' detective novel Kolka (Anita Liepiņa); the monograph Geography and the Art of Life (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), by Delaware University prof. Edmunds Bunkše and Dzintra Geka's film on Latvia's presidents (both reviewed by Astra Roze).

The two paintings reproduced are by Anda Kube and Rasma Gundega Ieviņa, while art photography is represented by Helēna Hofmane and Jānis Gleizds. The cover is by Ilmārs Rumpēters.

Ilze Valdmanis

Jaunā Gaita