Jaunā Gaita nr. 223, decembris 2000

JG 223

The poetry section of this issue contains translations of the work of Lithuanian poets Richard Šileika and Daiva Čepauskaite by Jānis Elsbergs, and a new translation of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" by Ilmārs Grants, as well as another poem of Poe's translated by Laima Kalniņa. We publish two interesting posthumous short stories by Olģerts Rozītis (1912-1984), "The Storm" and "Faded Lettering", with illustrations by Vitauts Sīmanis.

Indra Gubiņa contributes a summary of the life and work of the late, well-loved novelist Gunars Janovskis (1916-2000), while Ingrīda Vīksna marks the death of author Irma Grebzde (1912-2000). Andra Konste, a scholar of Aleksandrs Čaks, describes the new museum for Čaks situated in his former Rīga apartment.

Pāvils Johansons contributes a delightful memoir of his childhood in the 1950s in Stockholm. Both of his parents were well-known Latvian writers - his mother the poet Veronika Strēlerte and his father the essayist and historian Andrejs Johansons. Their Latvian endeavours did not put much bread on their table and they had to juggle their jobs, Latvian cultural life and writing, and family life. In spite of this, both managed to produce very fine work.

Two articles in this issue look at musical life in Latvia. Gunars Zvejnieks describes the development of the rock group Brainstorm (Prāta Vētra). Since the group achieved third place in the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest its fame has grown immensely in Europe. Mārīte Dombrovska describes the IV Young Musicians' Camp in Ogre in July 2000. The musicians were mainly from Latvia, with a few from the USA. The faculty were classical and jazz musicians such as Arturs Ozoliņš, Rasma Lielmane, Arvīds Klišāns, Pēteris Plakidis, Ventis-Zilberts, Imants Zemzaris, Dace Aperāne and Imants Mežaraups, to name just a few.

Nikolajs Bulmanis contributes a review, of Ilmārs Blumbergs' retrospective exhibition in Rīga this past September. Juris Žagariņš, our regular contributor of discussions culled from the Internet, this time contributes a discussion on the merits of electronic messaging, and describes how people can communicate on the Internet. Lidija Dombrovska discusses the presentation of visual art on the Internet.

Frank Gordon looks at Latvian identity - his own, his family's, and that of people such as critic Sven Birkerts and historian Modris Ekšteins, who have achieved considerable recognition for their work in a non-Latvian context. Daina Rotbaha and Ivars Vīks describe a documentary film they are making, and Viktors lvbulis discusses the work of literary critic Kārlis Račevskis.

Rolfs Ekmanis interviewed the poet Jānis Elsbergs for this issue. Elsbergs is also an editor of the literary journal Luna. Ekmanis and Elsbergs talk about the problems facing Latvian writers since 1990 and problems faced by Latvian authors, such as Elsbergs' mother Vizma Belševica, during the Soviet period. They also discuss the literary life of Latvia's Russian minority, and the fact that Latvian interest in Russian literature has sharply decreased, not because Russian literature has become less interesting, but because there is a world of literature available now that was, simply not accessible in Soviet times.

The review section in this issue has Gundars Pļavkalns discussing Aina Zemdega's collection of sketches, notes and articles called Bagatelles (Mežābele, Ithaca, 1999). Both Pļavkalns and Zemdega have been contributors to JG for many years. Juris Silenieks looks at the literary magazine Luna, whose fourth issue has just been published. The editors of Luna see their mission as presenting authors who they predict will make a significant contribution to Latvian literature. Nora Kūla discusses the late novelist Dagnija Zigmonte's diaries from 1945 to 1965, published by Likteņstāsti in Rīga in 1998. Aleksis Dreimanis reviews Edmunds V. Bunkše's Voices of Sirens: Geography as Humanistic Erudition (Rīga: Norden, 2000). The book describes the branch of geography that studies people's emotional and aesthetic interaction with their natural surroundings, connecting geography with other humanistic fields of study such as history, philosophy, art and literature. Finally, Juris Silenieks discusses the novel Hunting the Minotaur (Minotaura medības, Rīga: Atena, 1999) by Guntis Berelis.

The cover of this issue is by Vitauts Sīmanis and the frontispiece is by Ilmārs Blumbergs. Drawings are by Agnese Bule.

Ilze Valdmanis

Jaunā Gaita