Jaunā Gaita nr. 222, septembris 2000

JG 222

In this issue we have the final installment of Raimonds Staprāns' play "Anšlavs and Veronika" based on the life of the celebrated couple Anšlavs Eglītis and Veronika Janelsiņa, both of whom began their careers as artists but who achieved fame as writers as well. An interesting note is that Staprāns himself has had a dual career as both painter and writer. Staprāns is best known for his play "Four Days in June" about the last days of Kārlis Ulmanis as the president of Latvia in June 1940, at the time of the Soviet invasion.

Two prominent writers of the Latvian exile community died recently in California. Jānis Klīdzējs' novels are known for their intricate psychological portraits. Klīdzējs' work has now been published in Latvia and he is acknowledged as one of the finest Latvian novelists. We reprint his contribution to the anthology Self-portraits. (Pa4portreti. Grāmatu Draugs, 1965). Jānis Gorsvāns was another writer who had a parallel career as a painter and illustrator. He won the Jaunsudrabiņš Prize for his first collection of stories A Rich and Colorful Life (Krāšņa un bagāta dzīve. Tilts, 1970). As Helēna Hofmane describes in this issue, Gorsvāns will be remembered among his fellow writers for his work in organizing writers' events and the Latvian Writers' Association (LaRA). Gorsvāns edited the LaRA newsletter, a valuable source of information about Latvian literature in exile, for many years.

Nikolajs Bulmanis describes President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga's visit to Toronto last May, when she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Toronto. Bulmanis recounts several episodes from the president's earlier life, such as her and Imants Freibergs' wedding day in Toronto in 1960. Bulmanis emphasizes the immense pride that Latvians abroad feel for their president and the fact that she is 'one of us'.

Dace Aperāne contributes an overview of the work of the Latvian composer Maija Einfelde, who won the international Barlow competition for choral music in 1997 for her work "By the distant land... ". Einfelde's work has been described as "creating a mirage of sound that is perfectly colored". Einfelde has written not only choral work, but many works for the organ and for chamber ensemble. She has also composed religious music, including the chorale "And I Saw a New Heaven" for the Hilliard Ensemble.

Anita Liepiņa describes the XI Latvian Song Festival in Canada, which took place last July in Toronto, as a festival "for ourselves", since there is no longer a pressing need to publicize the plight of Latvia with events such as this. Due to careful planning and good advertising, the festival was well-attended and successful. Liepiņa mentions that the next festival in North America will be in Chicago in 2002.

Poetry in this issue has translations by Astrīde Ivaska of the work of Desmond O'Grady and Geoffrey Squires, and by Andrejs Irbe of the work of Tomas Transtromer and Lars Forsell. The book section has seven reviews: Juris Silenieks on Vizma Belševica's third volume in her semiautobiographical series about "Bille", two reviews by Mārtiņš Lasmanis on a collection of stories by Mārtiņš Zelmenis and Klosterkalns by Arnolds Apse, Juris Silenieks on Mārtiņš Lasmanis' anthology of Latvian exile poetry, Helēna Hofmane on Arturs Damroze's Images, lndulis Kažociņš on Valdemārs Ancītis' Book of Sēlija (Sēlija is a region of southeastem Latvia) and a review by Ilona Salceviča about Paulīne Zalāne's The People's Road (Cilvēku ceļš).

Editor-in-chief Rolfs Ekmanis interviewed artist lmants Bite who lives in England. Bite feels that Latvia will only lose if it joins NATO and the European Union: NATO cannot guarantee Latvia's security, and Latvia's ethnic identity will gradually disappear inside the European melting pot. Contributing editor Laimonis Mieriņš describes two large retrospective art shows in Riga this summer, while Juris Žagariņš, recounts a discussion on the Internet with prof. Andrievs Ezergailis about Modris Ekšteins' controversial (among Latvians) book Walking Since Daybreak (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1999).

The cover of this issue is by Haralds Norītis and the frontispiece is by Ģirts Puriņš. Vitauts Sīmanis contributed the illustrations for "Anšlavs and Veronika" and Dace Marga contributed the photograph on page 33.

Ilze Valdmane

Jaunā Gaita