Jaunā Gaita nr. 253. jūnijs 2008

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JG 253


  • Baiba Bičole presents five new poems of her own and introduces us to the poetry of her son Arvils Rumpēters, who, eight years ago, died much too young. He wrote what she calls „Arvilisms” (his title is Glimmers”): short ruminations/observations joyfully indulging in the unique power and beauty of the Latvian language.

  • In two prose compositions, Laima Kalniņa meditates on the spiritual cost of war and exile. She recounts the last time she ever laughed (the full horror of war had not yet overwhelmed her at her country home in Kurzeme or Courland). Then she tells of being tempted, in the spring of 1945, to return home „for just a brief visit”, to cross the so-called Green Line marking the not yet hardened border between Soviet-occupied and American-occupied Germany.

  • Irēne Avena reviews the proceedings of a two-day conference in Rīga in October 2006 on the impact of the work of poet Vizma Belševica (1931-2005) on Latvian literature and Latvian history. As a stubborn dissident to Soviet rule, Belševica dared the Latvian people to see themselves for what they were becoming, to reject their own impotence, self-betrayal, and cowardice and to sense the existence of a parallel universe where they could hope to be more fully human again; like a „golden compass”, she gave voice to the conscience of her nation.

  • Lidija Dombrovska tells a story of three anonymous cryptic messages received over the course of some years from a fan of hers in Latvia. And on the lighter side of the art of the written word is Uldis Siliņš’ parody of a scene from Rainis’ epic verse drama Zelta zirgs (The Golden Steed).


  • Mezzosoprano Elīna Garanča recently received rave reviews for her debut performance in The Barber of Seville at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and for her October 2007 performance in the title role of Bizet’s Carmen she here receives a no less enthusiastic review in Helēna Gintere’s article about Andrejs Žagars’ production of that opera in Rīga.

  • Avant-garde composer Gundaris Pone (1932-1994) is not forgotten, asserts Biruta Sūrmane, and as proof she reviews a jubilee publication about his life work put out by Mūzikas Saule magazine.


  • Featured in this issue are color reproductions of paintings (acrylics on cloth) by Haralds Norītis, well known to regular JG readers, and by Laura Cīruls, introduced in an article by Anete Ivsiņa. Two enigmatic (albeit wonderfully realistic) drawings by Edgars Jēriņš (charcoal on paper) are also featured.

  • Art editor Voldemārs Avens writes about a cross-generational exhibit of painting, sculpture and photography in Philadelphia sponsored by the Association of American Latvian Artists (ALMA).

  • Gundega Cēbere relates her impressions of an exhibit of Laris Strunke’s art at the Royal Art Academy in Stockholm, Sweden. Cover art is by Ilmārs Rumpēters.


  • Franks Gordons illuminates his discussion of the Yearbook (2006) of the Latvian Occupation Museum (LOM) with insight from his own personal experiences shortly before World War II and under Soviet rule in Latvia.

  • The seventh installment of Rolfs Ekmanis’ meticulously documented history of international Latvian-language radio broadcasting during the Cold War, brings us to the years 1965-1972, when Free Latvian Voice (BLB) operated under the auspices of the Russian exile organization Narodno Trudovoi Soyuz (NTS) in Frankfurt, Germany.

  • The sixth installment of Dr. Alfreds Tauriņš’ diary relates his day-to-day struggles, frustrations and triumphs as head of the Latvian committee at the Hochfeld refugee camp in Augsburg, Germany, in October and November of 1945.


  • Valters Nollendorfs, founding editor of Jaunā Gaita and currently Assistant Director of Development Affairs at the LOM tells of plans to expand the museum.

  • Tija Kārkle sets forth „Road Signs Toward a Latvian Soul and a Latvian Way of Life.”

  • In Kiberkambaris, denizens of the long-lived Latvian-language listserve „Sveiks” discuss whether or not Latvia’s politicians were playing an April fools joke on the public in their most recent incoherent attempts to grapple with the issue of citizenship rights.

  • Aina Siksna in the Letters section writes of a visit to an orphanage in Pskov, Russia. She is delighted to find that it is situated on a street named for Latvian poet Jānis Rainis.

  • The Marginalia section presents a wide-ranging selection of news shorts concerning Latvian culture all over the world (and not only!).

Books reviewed

  • Experiencing Totalitarianism, ed. Andrejs Plakans

  • The latest from Laima Muktupāvela

  • Ieva Zole’s collected conversations with theater director Māra Ķimele

  • An autobiography by moviemaker Jānis Streičs

  • Sven Birkerts’ Reading Life: Books for the Ages

  • The latest issue of the Journal of Baltic Studies


Jaunā Gaita