Jaunā Gaita nr. 106, 1975

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JG 106

Our Editor T. Ķiķauka writes:

The annual synopsis of émigré Latvian cultural events by Kārlis Ābele informs the reader that the previous year was marked by an absence of great events, books that really matter or art that transcends - in short, 1974 was a year that wasn't so hot. Compiling data from 3 continents K. Ābele points out one exception: an immensely informative and spirited effort by the dean of Latvian Architecture, P. Kundziņš, having written a careful and researched history of the Latvian Farmhouse and its integral components.

And when our senior essayist H. Kreicers writes about Jānis Rainis (1865-1925) he inevitably follows the course of many previous observers: caught in the post-war political intrigues, the greatness of this number one Latvian poet was diminished by the political gambits of party leaders in the 20's.

Our colleague, editor G. Irbe from the Gulf stream warmed shores of Sweden has sent a copy of a speech by Olof Palme, the current Prime Minister of that country, the land of Volvos. The occasion is the opening of the 3rd Baltic Scientific Conference in Stockholm, June 13, 1975. Promising funds, cultural exchange stimulation and development to the Baltic minorities in Sweden, Palme utters political platitudes, tailored to erase the scars left by Sweden when shortly after the war Swedes allowed the Russians to deport Latvian soldiers back to the Soviet Union against their will. A peace pact finally drawn up.

Art sharp-shooter Gvīdo Augusts (his previous finds include Muncis, JG 96) has zeroed in on Valdemārs Tone (1892-1958), painter of some importance who in 1920 married Valentīna Kūlmane, who 3 years later left for U.S.A. In her possession are letters that Tone wrote during 1922, while visiting the art high-spots in Europe. As old letters always are, these dryly made factual accounts of a weary traveler speak of poverty, post war depression and bleakness that was present in the war-depleted capitals of Europe at that time.

And then we plunge into the literary section where culture-hungry Modris Zeberiņš compiles a poetic collage, unreadably effective with bits of Latin for that Classical allusion and the poet's own supervocabulary takes the reader "High above Cayuga waters" whatever they are.

An excerpt from the 8-volume Herrnhut novel by Arturs Baumanis (published by "Ceļinieks") is followed by a piece of A. Irbe, closely related to G. Irbe: moody and mystical, this poet administers his poetic rites in a ritual that comes to him naturally with ease and certain artistry. Lidija Dombrovska, a painter-writer-poetess with her Renaissance spectrum of interests, does a prose bit, one that is heavy with existentialist analysis.

Inārs Brēdrichs at his satirically-cynical best is an excellent poet when he forgets literary history and stops name dropping. The piece here sparkles with vitality and vigor, a quality uncommon among emigré poets.

Aivars Ruņģis with his three poems has lost his usual poise and stamina and fluctuates in sombre sepia tones.

An account follows about the late popular Latvian writer, Jānis Jaunsudrabiņš who spent the last years of his exile in Kerbeck, Germany, where a memorial has now been established - a room houses books, displays and the bust of the late writer.

A WWII memoir book by V. Pelēcis has two reviewers, a refreshing thought, and as expected, they both are poles apart. Psychologist-writer J. Klīdzējs from U.S.A. is upset about the abundance of the 4-letter words, quite a novelty in Latvian writing, where puritan notions about the printed word still persist, while war veteran I. Bite takes a direct view from the battle trenches, and as Dr. Samuel Johnson would say - there is some truth on both sides.

Bruno Rubess (President, Volkswagen-Canada) who in his late teens already was a budding young political observer when WW II had just ended, makes deep incisions in the book describing the history of Latvian WW II Veterans and their association DV, as told by V. Hāzners. Reviewer Rubess notes a lack of depth and serious omissions that tend to obliterate the facts, yes, but whose facts. Perhaps a further perspective will be needed later to reassess the events more objectively.

L. Zandbergs tells our readers about the 3rd global Latvian Youth Congress, held in Belgium, where the East met the West for the first time after many years. Representatives from the Soviet Latvia met with delegates from the West and a dialogue ensued. And even if the views differed this fact has far reaching consequences - at least a platform for discussion has been established and that is an important beginning indeed.

I. Šedrika-Levis from the ultramarine shores of the Pacific Ocean, U.S.A, writes about the 4th Latvian Theatre Days in North America where plays were presented, seminars held and views aired. The absence of new, modern plays in Latvian is still the main problem so that translations are necessary, but knowing the stage enthusiasm of actors the outcry by Laimonis Siliņš that "The Latvian theatre will outlast the Latvian Church" seems to sum up the situation quite eloquently.

The cover is by Ilmārs Rumpēters.


Editor Ķiķauka, has been actively engaged in the recent years writing for several Canadian magazines on topics related to art and design. He has also completed a two year term as an art reviewer for a daily paper in Canada. Also most active in painting (his latest important work is entitled "Genesis" and is displayed in the Niagara Falls Art Gallery & Museum and consists of 18 panels depicting the Creation of the World according to the Old Testantent) he is currently working on his "Enigmas", a series of surrealistic paintings. These activities explain his absence from the Latvian literary scene.

Jaunā Gaita