Jaunā Gaita Nr. 255. decembris 2008

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JG 255



  • Jānis Krēsliņš, Sr. is a well-known historian, publicist and scholar. The Council of Foreign Relations employed him as its bibliographer. He is also an accomplished poet and translator. Here Krēsliņš puts into Latvian selected verses from Ezra Pound’s Cantos and Lustra, and from 19th century English decadent poet Ernest Dowson. These include words addressed by Voltaire to his mistress Madame Lullin: ...You’ll wonder that an old man of eighty / Can go on writing you verses..., and Dowson’s immortal line: They are not long, the days of wine and roses...

  • Krēsliņš also shares his thoughts on a New York production of the opera Die Soldaten by the avant-garde German composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann, based on an 18th century text by Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, whose father was a pastor in Latvia.

  • A play titled Plato and Marija, or the Third Mind, has Plato from ancient Athens showing up in Rīga to offer his timeless wisdom in person to its not very grateful ruling elite. The play’s three authors, Leons Briedis, his wife Marija and their son Adrians live in Rīga and publish Kentaurs XXI, a highly intellectual semi-yearly journal. The text of the play is enlivened with latvianized Greek dramatic masks drawn by Rita Laima Bērziņa.

  • Lalita Muižniece presents Liāna Langa as a poet who has earned popularity and critical acclaim for her individualistic voice, the richness of her language and her unsentimental sensibility.

  • In a prose essay on the passing of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, poet Uldis Bērziņš reminds us of Solzhenitsyn’s heroic greatness.

  • Jānis Aistars notes that Solzhenitsyn was an uncompromising critic not only of the Soviet Union but also of the United States and the Western world as a whole, decrying, especially, its „degradation of courage”.

  • „The Effects of the Thaw” (1955-1963) is the current instalment of Eva Eglāja-Kristsone’s study of the role of Latvian literature on both sides of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. During this time, the semimonthly Rīga publication Zvaigzne (Star) achieved great popularity within Latvia by daring to commence the publication of a novel by an exile writer (stopped by the censors after several instalments). Meanwhile, Jaunā Gaita was cultivating a uniquely bilateral dissident status by daring to publish the words of Soviet Latvian writers for its exile readership.

  • An essay written by the Latvian literary icon Māris Čaklais (1940-2003) praises the honesty, bravery and simplicity of the poetry of Ivars Lindbergs, who passed away this year in San Francisco.

  • Brigita Siliņa reminisces on Lindbergs’ big-hearted love of life and describes the suffering he had to endure as his life ebbed away.


  • Rolfs Ekmanis, in his continuing history of international Latvian-language radio broadcasting during the Cold War, describes the program content of Free Latvian Voice broadcasts out of Frankfurt, Germany, and recounts how lack of financial support by Latvian émigré organizations ultimately led to their discontinuation.


  • When Latvia’s popular a capella group, Cosmos, appeared in concert in Toronto in June, 2008, music critic Helēna Gintere was there. Her review is thumbs up, and she acquaints us the history of the group and with the six young men who comprise it.

  • Ivars Antēns writes that the Latvian Song Festival held in Ventura, California, at the end of August, 2008 was a great success and well worth the trip from Chicago.


  • Color reproductions in this issue are of works by Lidija Dombrovska and Uģis Nīgals.

  • Two examples of the photography of Rimands Ceplis (who is better known as an influential literary critic) are also presented.

  • Jānis Krēsliņš, Sr. cites a very favorable review of the art of long-time JG contributor, Ilmārs Rumpēters in a recent Riga gallery exhibit. The exhibit included examples of JG cover art.

KIBERKAMBARIS (Cyberchamber)

  • The tireless participants of the internet discussion group Sveiks ponder the heavy and troubling question of whether or not Latvia’s population would remain loyal to Latvia in the event of a Russian invasion, such as that which took place in Georgia during the summer of 2008.


  • The usual wide-ranging compendium of culture news shorts from all over the world: obituaries, new books, interesting exhibits, dramatic and musical productions, awards, statistics, and current events.


  • A collection of essays by Gundega Repše

  • Pseudofolkloristic fables by Māris Bērziņš, illustrated by Māris Bišofs

  • The poetry of Juris Kunnoss

  • The translation from the Italian of a historical study of Filippo Paulucci, governor of Riga under Tsar Alexander I, by Mauricio Lo Re, a recent Italian ambassador to Latvia

  • An autobiography by Kārlis Ritums

  • A translation of Knuts Skujenieks’ poetry in the Armenian language

  • A travelogue of adventures in Venezuela by Aleksandrs Tauriņš

  • A monograph by Mirdza Krastiņa on traces of ancient Balts in Germany

  • A catalogue of the 100 most beautiful country homes in Latvia; and the latest issue of the Journal of Baltic Studies

J. Ž.

Jaunā Gaita