Jaunā Gaita nr. 281. Vasara 2015


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JG 281



We mark the passing of poet Astrīde Ivaska (1926-2015) with a selection of her poetry and with a poem dedicated to her by Valters Nollendorfs, board chairman of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia and Jauna Gaita co-founder. Ivaska’s many contributions to this quarterly helped shape the character of Jaunā Gaita. For 20 years (1962-1982), she served on its editorial board. Her books of poetry won literary prizes both in the exile community and in post-Soviet Latvia. Together with her husband, Estonian poet, publicist and editor of Books Abroad (later World Literature Today), Ivar Ivask (1927-1992), she worked to cultivate contact with writers behind the Iron Curtain. Following her husband’s death, Ivaska relocated from Ireland to her native Rīga, where she has now been laid to rest.

In the latest segment from Ainārs Zelčs’ novel of fictional history, Abrene 2002, the young protagonists go dancing while the politicians deal with issues of nuclear energy.

The year 2015 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Rainis (1865-1929) and Aspazija (1865-1943), two of Latvia’s greatest poets and playwrights. We present some rarely seen photographs of them and also Sarma Muižniece Liepiņa’s report on a celebratory happening in, of all places, the middle of the Chihuahua desert in Texas.

Rolfs Ekmanis’ account of the career of Māris Čaklais (1960-2003) concludes with a summary of the poet-publicist-editor’s writings in the last decade before his death.

A selection of Rumanian songs of sorcery is rendered in Latvian by Leons Briedis, one of Latvia’s foremost poets and translators.

In Sandis Laime’s scholarly study of witchlore in Northeastern Latvia, we learn that witches practiced smothering, torturing, tickling to death, strangulation and seduction of men.



Musicologist Ilze Šarkovska-Liepiņa describes works by Latvian exile composers Bruno Skulte, Jānis Kalniņš, Tālivaldis Ķeniņš, Imants Ramiņš and Lolita Ritmane, as performed in the fall of 2014 in two cities, Rīga and Cēsis. The performances by the symphony orchestra of The Latvian Academy of Music under the direction of Ainārs Rubiķis were organized by the Culture Foundation of The World Federation of Free Latvians (PBLA).

Conductor and composer Andrejs Jansons reminisces on bringing works of his teacher and mentor Bruno Skulte (1905-1976) to the stage, most notably, the opera Vilkaču mantiniece (Werewolf’s Heir).



Our art editor Linda Treija describes the art of Dita Lūse, whose recent exhibit of paintings at Artifact, a New York gallery, was favorably reviewed. Samples from this exhibit are reproduced on pages 12, 26 and 49 and on the cover.



Franks Gordons (Tel Aviv) reminds us how the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (August 23, 1939) resulted in tragedy for Europe on May 8 and 9, 1945.

Historian Ritvars Jansons describes the evolution of the security apparatus of Soviet occupied Latvia.

Writer/physician Kārlis Zvejnieks (1921-2015) conjures a bleak dialog between a Soviet interrogator and the proud man he sentences to 25 years in the Gulag.

In the section Scripta Manent, cinematographer Vija Beinerte and frequent Jaunā Gaita contributor, independent journalist Sanita Upleja warn never to forget the mass deportations of Balts to Siberian labor camps.

A review article by Juris Šlesers brings into sharp relief four stong personalities involved in the shaping of Latvia’s political culture after the collapse of the Soviet Union: Uldis Ģērmanis, Didzis Liepiņš, Eduards Berklavs and Jānis Liepiņš.

Dažos vārdos (In a Few Words) offers a broad perspective on recent cultural events in Latvia, as well as sociopolitical happenings relevant to the Baltic region.



Writer/physician Jānis Liepiņš examines No kurienes nākam (Whence do we come), a memoir by Lūcija Ķuzāne, and Sanita Reinsone’s Meža meitas (Daughters of the forest) – about women partisans resisting Soviet rule after World War II.

Ilze Jansone’s latest novel Vienīgais (The Only One) deals with the post-Soviet generation in Latvia. Reviewer Laura Celmiņa is a contributor to ubisunt (University of Latvia).                      



Jaunā Gaita