Jaunā Gaita nr. 252. marts 2008
LETTERS & CULTURE. According to Juris Silenieks, professor emeritus (Carnegie-Mellon U.), the two central themes of the six poetry collections of Aina Kraujiete (1923 – 2007) are her poignant childhood memories of Latvia’s countryside and her fascination with life in New York City, her refuge from the brutal Soviet occupation of her homeland. In addition to eight of Kraujiete’s poems, we are featuring two recent poems by Juris Zommers and a reminiscence by the poet Velta Sniķere concerning her travels and life in England. Laima Kalniņa (longtime contributor to JG) has similarly imbued her short prose fiction „Mans draugs un es” (My Friend and I) with autobiographical elements. Uldis Bērziņš, poet and translator of the Koran, shares his viewpoint on the relationship between the human and the divine, based on reflections by scholars Marie-Joseph Lagrange, Rein Fernhout, and Fazlur Rahman Malik. Bērziņš’ 2007 reading list also included two Latvian authors – Aleksandrs Čaks and Līga Rundāne, as well as Mehmed Jashin and the American philosopher Richard Rorty. The latter’s postmodernist criteria that only recently written original works should be considered as significant, leads Bērziņš to the realization that for him it would be Estonian folksongs and Mongolian epics! Literary scholar Anda Kubuliņa interviews her fellow humanist Jānis Krēsliņš, Sr. about his perception of the life and works of Eriks Ādamsons (1907– 1946), a major Latvian poet and prose writer. Throughout the interview Krēsliņš provides detailed information about Ādamsons’ publications. He also introduces Casimir Ulrich Boehlendorff (1775-1825) who, born of Baltic German parents in the province of Courland and educated in Jena, Germany, wrote not only in German, but also in Latvian, as evidenced by his poem about the festival of John’s Day, included in this issue.
HISTORY & POLITICS. Sarma Muižniece Liepiņa, a poet, artist and board member of the American Latvian Association, underlines in her eloquent essay that Latvia faces deep economic and political problems which require positive and energetic involvement by all Latvians, including those living abroad. Two articles are devoted to the Latvian experience in Displaced Persons’ camps in Germany after World War II. Astrīda Straumane Ramrath reviews Ansis Pommers’ detailed and scrupulously assembled history of the Latvian DP community in Fischbach, while the entries of professor Alfreds Tauriņš’ diary tell us about life in the Hochfeld DP camp in Augsburg. Sociology doctoral student Maija Andersone discusses the controversy over the fate of the Museum of Occupation in Rīga.
REVIEWS. Lelde A. Kalmīte’s Jānis Kalmīte (2007), a biography of her father (1907-1996), a beloved Latvian painter who died in exile (Voldemārs Avens); a short story collection Katram sava (2007), by Tālis Vaidars, whose writings were censored or rejected by the Soviet cultural overseers (Ruta Veidemane); Lidija Dombrovska’s poetry anthology Atstari avotu acīs (2007) (Dagnija Dreika); Norman Davies’ Europe at War 1939-1945 (2006) (Marita V. Grunts & Gundars Ķeniņš-King); Letonica (No.15, 2007), published by the University of Latvia’s Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art (Lalita Muižniece); Vol.IV (2007) of Aleksandra Čaka gadagrāmata, a collection of learned articles dedicated to the poet Čaks (1901-1950) (Anita Liepiņa); Aija Freimane & Jouko Talonen’s Bibliography of Ludvigs Adamovičs (2005), published by Societas historiae ecclesiasticae Fennica (Rolfs Ekmanis); Janīna Kursīte’s Neakadēmiska latviešu valodas vārdnīca jeb novadu vārdene (Unacademic Dictionary of the Latvian Language, 2007) (Ivars Antēns); Economist Gundars Ķeniņš-King’s Raksti veiksmīgiem cilvēkiem (2007) contains advice for Latvian business people (Ieva Kalve); Journal of Baltic Studies XXXVIII/3, 2007 (Gundars Ķeniņš-King).
MARGINALIA covers a broad range of topics, from Latvian cultural events to Andrzej Wajda’s new film about the Soviet massacre of 22 500 Polish officers in the forest of Katyn (1940) and the activities of Latvian soldiers in U.S. occupied Iraq.
The full-page reproductions are by Jānis Kalmīte, Jānis Aistars, Uldis Grasis, Ilmārs Rumpēters. The cover is by Laimonis Mieriņš.
I.V., J.Z., R.E