Jaunā Gaita nr. 279. Ziema 2014
Featured in the frontispiece is a letter from Ojārs Spārītis, president of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, to Jaunā Gaita’s editor-in-chief and to all who work on and contribute to our cultural quarterly. He writes “We will prevail [as a nation] in the unity of mutual understanding to which you have dedicated so much effort. For that we thank you with all our heart.”
POETRY, PROSE, LITERARY COMMENTARY
Uldis Bērziņš contributes eleven enigmatic yet luminous prose-poetic “motifs”.
Gundars Pļavkalns’ caligraphically handwritten poem “In the Garden of Nowhere” is reproduced in facsimile. Pļavkalns has contributed poetry, prose and thoughtful commentary since the inception of Jaunā Gaita in 1955.
The Bard and the Organ-Grinder, “A Short Schubertiade” by Jānis Liepiņš, is a one-act play first produced in Rīga in 2010.
The current episode from Ainārs Zelčs’ fictional history Abrene 2002 maintains that Latvia never was and never will be so small as to be uniform in character or in language.
Juris Šlesers reviews Eva Eglāja-Kristsone’s book Dzelzsgriezēji (Iron Cutters) about contacts during the Cold War between Latvian exile writers and their colleagues under Soviet rule.
Part four of Rolfs Ekmanis’ account of Māris Čaklais delves into six of his poetry collections.
Author of several biographical writings, Ilona Salceviča, characterizes the work of Dzidra Zeberiņa as light-hearted and impressionistic.
VISUAL ART AND MUSIC
Two paintings by Valerijans Dadžāns are displayed (pages 5 and 46) and one by Osvalds Zvejsalnieks (page 35). Art historian Māris Brancis introduces us to these artists and their work.
Margarita Kovaļevska (1910-1999) was an enormously popular painter and writer whose prolific epistolary exchanges with her artist friends are kept by the Literature and Music Museum in Rīga. Philologist Maija Kalniņa, curator and researcher at the museum shares insights.
Dace Krecere interviews Laima Slava, founder of the Neputns Publishing House, which specializes in high quality books on art.
Gunta Amola relates the genesis and describes a recent production in Rīga of a musical, based on the play Pūt vējiņi! (Blow, ye Winds!), written by poet Jānis Rainis 100 years ago.
Jānis Aistars gives a lively account of the 2014 Latvian Song Festival in Hamilton, Ontario.
The cover art is by Brencis Sils.
HISTORY AND ACTUALITIES
In his ongoing history of international radio broadcasting in the Latvian language, Rolfs Ekmanis details efforts by Warsaw Pact special forces to interfere with the work of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty in the period 1975-1989.
Verba volant, scripta manent is a Latin proverb meaning “spoken words fly away, written words remain”. Our section “Scripta Manent” features powerful social commentary by Adam Michnik, one of the most celebrated dissidents of the Polish Solidarity era, now editor of Gazeta Wyborcza, and two essays by Latvian independent journalist Sanita Upleja.
Sandis Laime’s exhaustive research on witchcraft and witchlore in Latvia lays out the numbers of witches on record, the names given to witches, and the preferred times of day for their activities.
he section “In a Few Words” updates our readers on recent publications, musical and theatrical performances, exhibitions, events in the spirit of folk tradition, doings in the diaspora, happenings of historical and current significance in the Baltic region. Brief commentaries focus especially on the Russian specter again haunting Europe.
“Kiberkambaris” (Cyberchamber) samples the national discussion of a musical Cukurs, Herberts Cukurs – about a popular adventurer-aviator who was killed without trial by the Israeli secret police for his alleged complicity in the Jewish holocaust during the Nazi occupation.
Jānis Liepiņš reviews Ilgonis Bērsons’ Segvārdi un Segburti (Code Words and Code Letters), on the pseudonyms adopted by Latvian men of letters.
Juris Šlesers reviews Māra Celle’s childhood memoir Meitene no Mežaparka (Girl from Mežaparks)
Māris Brancis examines Pēteris Zirnītis’ Ķūķis stāsta Burtnieku ezera teikas (Ķūķis Tells Tall Tales from Burtnieku Lake).
Gundars Ķeniņš Kings summarizes the contents of the September 2014 issue of the Journal of Baltic Studies.