Jaunā Gaita nr. 240, marts 2005
POETRY: Maija Meirāne, poet, translator, graphic artist, art historian, and author of two collections of poetry (Dūmistaba, 1988, and Nakts vēstules, 2002) contributes eight recent poems, rich in images, metaphors, and narrative elements.
PROSE: Marta Landmane contributes the short story Kūkas (Cakes). As a teenager she was stationed as a Red Cross nurse on a German hospital ship torpedoed by a Soviet submarine. In this story she returns to the post-Armistice Germany of 1945 populated by occupying forces, released concentration camp inmates, refugees, Germans. The heroine, a Latvian nurse, craves the "cakes" of the title, but unforeseen events bring her to reject the cake and all it represents.
OBITUARY: Rolfs Ekmanis, editor, eulogizes Inta Ezergaile (1932-2005), professor of German and Comparative Literatures at Cornell University, assistant editor of JG, and contributor of many essays and reviews. Among her many books and articles, Ekmanis singles out Nostalgia and Beyond: Eleven Latvian Women Writers (1998).
HISTORY: Andrievs Ezergailis continues his investigation of the Third Reich's occupation of Latvia. Disguised as "liberation", it was designed to annihilate the Latvian state and its people. As an eyewitness to those times, Arturs Neparts challenges Ezergailis' use of the term "collaboration" and points out that not all cooperation with occupying forces may be called "collaboration."
REMINISCENCES: Ivars Lindbergs in The Visit of Arvīds Grigulis in San Francisco responds as an eye-witness to Eva Eglāja-Kristsone's article on the Committee for Cultural Relations with Latvians Abroad that appeared in JG 235, (31-35).
INTERNET CHATROOM (KIBERKAMBARIS): Juris Žagariņš has selected conversations from the three days spanning the US presidential elections.
SHORT TAKES (DAŽOS VĀRDOS) reflects the many Cultural events, prizes awarded, and web sites unveiled since the last issue.
ART AND MUSIC: Gundega Cēbere provides an introduction to the oeuvre of sculptor Gļebs Panteļejevs. His prize-winning and emotionally charged Black Threshold (see p.23), installed at the dreaded former headquarters of the KGB at 61 Brīvības iela, Riga, commemorates the victims of interrogation, torture, and imprisonment. It was commissioned by the Museum of the Occupation. JG also introduces the painter Krista Vārsberga and the art photographer Andris Eglītis. Dace Aperāne reviews the gala chamber concert by Solistes Europeens, held on May 3, 2004 at UN Headquarters in New York to celebrate the enlargement of the European Union. The concert was initiated and organized by Gints Jēgermanis, Latvia's permanent representative to the UN.
REVIEWS: Inta Ezergaile finds Inese Zandere's collection of poems, The Bakery of the Black Snake, "sophisticated, refined, and wise" and full of interesting rhythms and varied rhymes and perspectives. Aina Siksna discusses a book that combines Edvarts Virza's Last Poems (1942) with Virza's formerly unknown 1937-39 Letters to Veronika Strēlerte, the 22-year-old Latvian poetess. They reveal his admiration and passion for Strēlerte, and the love that apparently remained unconsummated. Astra Roze reviews the collection of 15 short stories, stum stum, by Andra Neiburga lauding her richly visual language and finding the stories beautifully structured and executed. Rolfs Ekmanis acclaims Ildze Kronta's Works-Personalities-Perspectives as a "good, deep, and thoughtful book" about Latvian prose works published since the 1970s. Ekmanis also points out that eight of the essays were originally published in JG. Biruta Sūrmane finds Alberts Veinbergs' fictionalized biography of his mother, The Last Journey of Stipru Anna, to be a testament to the strength and courage of a woman and a survivor whose life story is told against a background of history, politics, and geography. Sūrmane also discusses Nine Destinies: Persecuted Writers, by Ilgonis Bērsons who has collected "valuable data" that can serve as a springboard for future research of Latvian literature under the Soviets. Juris Silenieks reviews Māris Ruks' first collection of poetry, Half a Brick the Color of your Eyes. The overarching theme of the poems is the search for the metaphorical universal potter, and is explored through many sub-themes and images which, however, are occasionally discordant. Silenieks also discusses the literary critic's, Guntis Berelis', 12 essays included in his Postmodernism and Latvian Literature. Gundars Ķeniņš-King reviews the Winter 2004 issue of the Journal of Baltic Studies (JBS), devoted primarily to studies of corruption in the Baltics.
RESPONSES TO JĀNIS FREIMANIS' ARTICLE: JG 239 (December 2004), reprinted an article by Prof. Freimanis, originally published in the Rīga newspaper, Neatkarīgā Rīta Avīze (July 19, 2004) with the title of "Is it Exile? Or Simply Emigration?" In separate articles, Brunis Rubess, Anna Žīgure, Franks Gordons, and Gundars Ķeniņš-King unequivocally refute the allegations that those Latvians who fled in 1944 were interested purely in economic gain and personal comfort and show that Freimanis is ill-informed and his remarks are calculated to sow envy and distrust among the "stay-at-homes," the deportees, and the political exiles.
The cover design is by Haralds Norītis.
Maruta Lietiņa Ray