Jaunā Gaita nr. 288. Pavasaris 2017
MEMORIA IN AETERNA
We mark with sadness the passing of our editor-in-chief Rolfs Ekmanis (1929-2017). He was a professor of Literature and Languages at Arizona State University and a member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. Influential as a sovietologist and social activist during the Cold War and beyond, he contributed extensively to JG for more than half a century, taking place at its helm in 1998. Notable among his JG publications was a serialized history of international radio broadcasting in the Latvian language during the Cold War. From 1975 to 1993 he was a commentator on culture and politics and, ultimately, the director of the Latvian Broadcast Division of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. In remembrance of Dr. Ekmanis we offer selections from his many publications and interviews. His portrait on page 2 is by Gunārs Janaitis.
LITERATURE AND LITERARY COMMENTARY
Though somber of mien, Leons Briedis infuses twelve philosophical poems with gentle whimsy. The poem on page 1, “Gaita”, meaning “course” or “movement” (as in Jaunā Gaita – The New Course) is dedicated to Rolfs Ekmanis, whose life followed “a course that never was untrue“.
Artis Dobrovoļskis’ short story is about a case of on-line flirtation ending in virtual suicide.
We feature an excerpt from the final volume of Trejādas saules. Mitoloģiskā saule (Threefold Sun. The Mythological Sun) by Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga (President of Latvia, 1999-2007).
Jānis Elsbergs shares fragments of his ongoing translation of William Shakespeare’s Richard III. He notes that Shakespeare’s sixteenth-century tragedy conflates with the dark drama of the present-day conflict in Ukraine.
Novelist Agate Nesaule relates several encounters with sexist attitudes during her pursuit of “A Classical Education“ at the University of Indiana and the University of Wisconsin in the 1950s and early 1960s.
HISTORY AND ACTUALITIESNew York Lutheran pastor and poet Laris Saliņš reflects on spirituality and family dynamics while sharing his childhood impressions more than a half century later in “Elles ķēķa bērns” (Hell’s Kitchen Child).
Ingvars Leitis and Uldis Briedis weave a photojournalistic tale of their 1975 bicycle expedition to visit Latvian communities in Siberia.
Vladislavs Niteckis delivers part two of his reminiscences of student life at the Baltic University, which served Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian refugees in Germany from 1946 to 1949.
Authors repressed under the Soviet occupation from 1956 to 1969 and subsequently rehabilitated (some posthumously) is the focus of part three of Madara Eversone’s history of the Latvian Soviet Writers Union.
The late Rolfs Ekmanis introduces Washington Post commentator Anne Applebaum, who asks “Is America Still the Leader of the Free World?” (Washington Post 2016.9.XI). Her editorial is translated into Latvian by Anita Liepiņa.
Sanita Upleja reflects on how events can become intended and unintended fateful turning points in the development of a nation.
With a focus on Latvia and its diaspora, the section “Dažos vārdos” (In a Few Words) summarizes significant cultural events, recent publications and sociopolitical actualities relevant to the Baltic region.
VISUAL ARTS – Art historian and curator Dace Lamberga describes the newly renovated 1905 Latvian National Museum of Art building in Riga. Its dramatic new underground wing, designed by Lithuanian architect Vytautas Biekša, is accessed by the gold staircase depicted on the cover of this issue.
The life work of artist, scenographer, and Picasso enthusiast Oskars Rožkalns (1910-1989) is brought to light in Voldemārs Avens’ review of Trešā atgriešanās. Ieskats Rožkalna dzīvē un darbos by Māris Brancis and Ingrīda Burāne. Two mixed media works by Rožkalns are displayed on pages 72 and 75.
BOOK REVIEWSFranks Gordons reviews Vilis Vītols’ Pārdomas par Krieviju (Reflections on Russia).
Uldis Bērziņš comments on Uldis Grava’s memoir Tālumā, bet ne svešumā (Distant, but not Foreign).
Juris Šlesers examines the content of the Fall 2016 Journal of Baltic Studies.
Composer and musicologist Andrejs Jansons brings to light some shortcomings in the new Latvian Lutheran Songbook Latvijas Evaņģēliski luteriskās baznīcas dziesmu grāmata, published in Finland.