Jaunā Gaita nr. 282. Rudens 2015
LITERATURE, LITERARY COMMENTARY
Poets Indra Gubiņa and Baiba Bičole, both long-time contributors to JG, conjure strong images and invite serious introspection into the autumn of life.
24 stanzas of Edda, Old Icelandic verse, translated by poet Uldis Bērziņš, tell why seawater became salty.
„Veltas stāsts” (Velta’s Story), by Vilnis Bankovičs, is a vivid account of the profound dislocation wrought by foreign occupations (Russian, German, and Russian again) during and after World War II. Separated by an Iron Curtain and an ocean, highschool-age sweethearts Velta and Vilnis share their stories upon their encounter 60 years later in Rīga.
A surgery patient’s thoughts and feelings toward the hospital medical professionals is the theme of Sabīne Košeļeva’s short story „Ceļa maize” (Food for the Road).
In the section devoted to the commemoration of the joint 150th birthday of poets/playwrights Rainis and Aspazija, Guntis Šmidchens, head of the Baltic Studies program at the University of Washington, reviews a 2014 movie production of Rainis’ play Zelta zirgs (The Golden Steed).
Poet and artist Sarma Muižniece Liepiņa continues her account of a celebratory Rainis/Aspazija event in the Far West Texas town of Marfa, known not only for cowboys, but also for artists and art galleries.
Literary critic Bārbala Simsone gives a historic overview of the genre of science fiction in Latvian literature.
University of Latvia ethnographer Sandis Laime continues researching witchlore in Northeastern Latvia. In the present installment, witches steal milk from cows, switch newborn babies and cause other disturbances.
Artist and art critic Linda Treija’s discussion of Ingemāra Treija’s paintings is accompanied by three full-page reproductions (pp. 1, 5 & 42).
Māris Brancis, an expert in the Latvian diaspora art world, comments on painter / graphic artist Gvido Augusts (reproduced on pp. 44 & 64). Augusts also did the cover of this issue of JG.
HISTORY AND ACTUALITIES
On „Victory Day” (День Победы), Mikhail Shishkin, one of Russia’s best-known contemporary writers, addresses his late father who, at the end of World War II, served on a Soviet submarine that torpedoed ships full of evacuees from Rīga and Tallinn, causing the deaths of thousands of civilian refugees. Father, we lost the war! Thus Shishkin ends his moving text.
Historian Ritvars Jansons continues his treatise on the evolution of the Soviet security apparatus in 1940/1941 and from 1944 to 1956.
Sanita Upleja, an independent journalist, in her short essay relates some folk traditions to present-day life.
Juris Zommers interviews educator Andra Zommere, recipient of the 2015 Jānis Bieriņš Memorial Foundation Award (for fostering Latvian cultural activities in diaspora).
The section „Dažos vārdos” (In a Few Words) continues to offer a broad perspective on recent cultural events in Latvia, as well as on Russian and East European sociopolitical happenings relevant to the Baltic region.
Vilnis Bankovičs’ Los, Los! Davai, Davai!, a memoir of survival under Hitler and Stalin (reviewed by Ivars Antēns), is also available in Māris Roze’s English translation – Driven West, Taken East. A WWII Memoir of the Eastern Front.
Bārbala Simsone’s Monstri un metaforas (Monsters and Metaphors), a study of the horror genre in Latvian literature (Kristīne Ilziņa).
Laris Krēsliņš’ poetry collection Puķes. Vietā / In Place. Flowers (Sandra Milevska).
Two reviewers (Zita Kārkla & Anda Kuduma) evaluate short story writer Sabīne Košeļeva’s first novel Rīga-Maskava: 21. gadsimta mīlasstāsts (Rīga-Moscow: A 21st Century Love Story).
Czech writerJosef Škvorecký’s (1924-2012) novel Cilvēka dvēseles inženiera stāsts (Příběh inženýra lidských duší, 1977 – The Engineer of Human Souls – translated into Latvian by Jānis Krastiņš) (Ligita Levinska).
Alfons Kalns’ compilation of materials from diaspora periodicals on Latvian Arts Trust Society (LATS), Toronto, Canada (Anita Liepiņa).