Jaunā Gaita nr. 251. decembris 2007

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JG 251

LITERATURE. Few readers will fail to be impressed by award-winning prose writer Benita Veisberga's perceptive, colorful, poignant, slightly nostalgic and beautifully told miniatures. The young generation poet Ingmāra Balode has translated e e cummings and Polish poets Adam Zagajewski, Stanisław Barańczak, and Zbigniew Herbert into multifaceted and many-dimensional Latvian. Gundars Pļavkalns in his final instalment on 20th-century modernism argues that good literature must have a grounding in reality, or "realism with style", as Gustave Flaubert put it. Rolfs Ekmanis writes about the winner of two literary prizes in one year (2007) - poet, editor and graphic artist Maija Meirāne who, like most of the Raisters Memorial Prize and the PBLA Cultural Foundation Prize winners, has often published her work in JG.

HISTORY. Uldis Bērziņš, a prolific poet, translator, one of Latvia's leading intellectuals and a frequent contributor to JG, discusses national enmity and terrorism, arguing the need for every educational and moral system to develop each person's ability to control absolutely the beast that is within him or her. Writer and political commentator Franks Gordons in his letter from Tel Aviv offers several case studies of national animosity, e.g., between the Palestinians and the Jews, the Serbs and the Albanians in Kosovo, and the Armenians and the Azeris. He also mentions Latvian historical dislike for the Baltic Germans dating back to the conquest of Latvian and Estonian territories by the Teutonic Knights (13th century) and, later, the German introduction of a feudal system with serfdom as one of the key elements. Rolfs Ekmanis continues to present his research findings on international broadcasting in the Latvian language during the Cold War, in this issue, the earnest plan by young Baltic exiles to purchase a radioship that would cruise in international waters along the Baltic coastline in order to broadcast Baltijas Balss (BB - Voice of the Baltics) programs to the inhabitants of the Russian occupied Baltic region. Although the project had to be aborted, this little-known episode is a fascinating tidbit of Cold War history. Juris Šlesers has contributed a meticulous and gripping review article on Latvian soldiers in World War II.

FILM. Maruta Vītola analyses the early work of Latvian documentary film-maker Juris Podnieks (1950-1992), who during the last ten years of the Soviet empire became publicly acclaimed all over Europe with such films as It's Not Easy to Be Young (1986) and The End of an Empire (1991).

MUSIC. While pianist and music teacher Helēna Gintere writes about the Toronto choral group Under the Baltic Sun, composed of four ethnic choirs (Vox Finlandiae, Estonia, Latvian Dzirksts and Lithuanian Volunge), Ivars Antēns shares his impressions of the XII Latvian Song Festival in the United States (Indianapolis, 2007).

THEATRE. Ingrīda Bulmane interviews Raimonds Staprāns about his latest play Meli (Lies), produced by mazais teātris sanfrancisko (Latvian little theatre in San Francisco).

BOOK REVIEWS include Juris Einfelds' short story collection Neļaudis (Non-people), Ināra Cedriņa's English-language poetry collection Fugitive Connections, and Inga Abele's Atgāzenes stacijas zirgi (The Horses of Atgāzene Station) (all three reviewed by Juris Silenieks, Carnegie-Mellon U.); Gundega Cebere's monograph on the painter Leonīds Āriņš (Voldemārs Avens); the collected works of literatus Arnolds Jansons (Biruta Sūrmane); Rihards Kalvāns' memoir Atklusējumi (Disclosures) (Rolfs Ekmanis, Arizona State U.); Okupētā Latvija 1940-1990 (Occupied Latvia 1940-1990) (Arnolds Neparts); and the Journal of Baltic Studies XXXVIII/2, June 2007 (Gundars Ķeniņš King, Pacific Lutheran U.).

CYBERSPACE, compiled by Juris Žagariņš, reflects some socio-political contradictions in Latvia.

MARGINALIA covers a broad range of topics, from recent cultural events in Latvia and Latvian diaspora to anti-democratic trends emanating from Putin's Russian Federation.

VISUAL ARTS. "The Last of the Latvian Beatniks" is an appropriate title of Voldemārs Avens' piece on the painter/sculptor Ēriks Rudāns (1933-2007) who gave up working as an art instructor at the University of Wisconsin and the Art Institute of Chicago, moved to a Tucson barrio Old Pueblo where art, often with social overtones, became his life style. We have reproduced several of his works along with the drawings of Edgars Jēriņš and Kris Lewis' oil painting - a mystical vision of a beautiful enchantress. The cover is by llmārs Rumpēters.

LV., R.E.

Jaunā Gaita