Jaunā Gaita nr. 269. vasara 2012
Indra Gubiņa’s seven poems are a meditation on the beauty and violence of nature, the passage of time and the power of words, concluding with an intimation that, when the light gets to be blinding (..) a Great Hand will close the curtain. Juris Zommers, in his poem, counts 5270 books in his personal possession (half of them unread – naturally) and hears the sigh of a bookworm facing mortality.
The short story “Foxes and Bloodhounds” by Gundars Ignats, a young writer currently popular in Latvia, tells of a romantic fantasy befuddling a man while his female colleagues pursue him in a brutal paintball battle.
An essay by Jānis Liepiņš marks the passing of Broņislava Martuževa (1924-2012), a much-beloved poet who for most of her life personified indomitable resistance to Soviet repression. Words addressed to her in 1990 by Laima Līvena, the editor of her collected poems, make plain the strength and the cost of that resistance.
Poet-critic-translator Ingmāra Balode, and her colleague-in-trade Māris Salējs, author of a recently published monograph on Latvian poet and translator Uldis Bērziņš, discuss, compare and contrast the poetry of Bērziņš and Polish-Lithuanian Nobel laureate Czesław Miłosz (1911-2004).
Ingmāra Balode summarizes the lifetime achievement and literary testament of Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska (1923-2012). Her poem “Hatred”, translated by Uldis Bērziņš, is a sample of the Polish poet’s acerbic, ironic style.
Milda Grīnfelde (1909-2000) was a soul-mate, muse and companion to poet Aleksandrs Čaks in his latter years. Jānis Liepiņš, who knew her well, composed a fictional letter from her to Čaks, “Break-up Game”, published here, as part of a dramatic production to celebrate the 110th birthday of the poet.
Knuts Skujenieks, in a transcript from a TV interview, characterizes the cultural situation in Latvia as verging on a slippery slope, but takes solace in the hope that a catharsis will yet turn it around.
Juris Šlesers looks deeply into the autobiographical memoir of Andris Kadeģis, an ex-US Air Force officer who resettled in Münster, Germany, where he worked as a medical doctor and contributed much personal energy to the Latvian cause during the decade of the 1980’s.
Our contributing editor Maija Meirāne reports on the Center for Research on Latvian Literature in Exile, established at the University of Latvia Philology Department with aid from a fund in memory of exile poet Valda Dreimane (1932-1994). Meirāne, a poet herself, also reminisces on her soul sister, art photographer Helēna Hofmane (1931-2011), and shares a selection of her black and white images.
REMEMBRANCES AND HISTORY
Ivars Aļķis writes about the life of editor and publicist Arvīds Avots as documented by his son Alnis Avots.
Laimonis Purs continues his account of the career of Soviet-era politician and journalist Kārlis Ozoliņš.
Rolfs Ekmanis brings us the latest installment on Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty in his history of international Latvian-language broadcasting during the Cold War.
Long-time readers of Jaunā Gaita grieve the passing of two world-renowned artists, Laimonis Mieriņš (1929-2011) and Ilgvars Šteins (1925-2011), both of whom have contributed in their lifetimes many memorable images to these pages, including cover art and, in the case of Mieriņš, art criticism. In the first part of an in-depth biographical study, art critic Māris Brancis describes Mieriņš’ home life in exile in Leeds, England. Our art editor Linda Treija gives tribute to the life and genius of Šteins and displays a selection of his art in color reproduction, including the cover of this issue. Treija also introduces the work of artist Ināra Matīsa with two samples of her brilliant iridescent abstractions.
CURRENT EVENTS AND OPINION
“Kiberkambaris”, our glimpse of the best of Latvian-language internet discussion, opens with an opinion that we need to teach our children to take pride in our wartime history, and, after some flashes of rancor, winds up on a philosophical note.
“In a Few Words” – news shorts on recent publications, awards, music, theater, visual arts, folk customs, dual citizenship, diaspora, statistics, prehistoric Latvian cliff writings, and pivotal happenings in these turbulent times in the European Union, in Latvia and elsewhere.
Mach dich auf und werde Licht: Zu Leben und Werk von Ernst Glück (1654-1705). Akten der Tagung anlässlich seines 300. Todestages vom 10. bis 13. Mai 2005 in Halle (Saale)/Schiller Ch., Grudule M. [Hrsg.]. Halle – reviewed by Ināra Klekere
Nezināmais karš: Latviešu nacionālo partizānu cīņas pret padomju okupantiem 1944-1956 (The Unknown War: Latvian National Partisan Battles against Soviet Occupiers 1944-1956) – Aleksandrs Kiršteins
Nikolo Makjavelli (Nicolo Machiavelli). Valdnieks (The Prince) transl. Veronika Strēlerte – Aina Siksna
Lorenss Darels (Lawrence Durrell). Aleksandrijas kvartets. Baltazars (Alexandria Quartet. Balthazar) transl. Māra Rūmniece – Lāsma Ģibiete
Laima Kalniņa. Runcis Timiāns un Anna (Tomcat Timians and Anna) – Biruta Sūrmane
Journal of Baltic Studies 42/4 (December 2011), published by the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies – Gundars Ķeniņš Kings.