Jaunā Gaita nr. 291. Ziema 2017
Two of Latvia's stellar poets, Leons Briedis and Uldis Bērziņš, offer some of their latest poetry to this issue. Both are recipients of the “Mūža balva”, an award for lifetime commitment to Latvian literary culture (Briedis in 2015, Bērziņš in 2017).
Novelist and poet Rūta Mežavilka, a newcomer to our pages, shares poetry and an exerpt from a novel in the making, Alīdas dzīve (The Life of Alīda). This will be Mežavilka's second novel. She has published three collections of poems.
A story titled The Day of the Great Forgiveness takes a sardonic look at some specimens of European society, from old blood aristocracy to cosmopolitan bourgeoisie, coming together to celebrate an annual parade of pleasure boats in an inland harbor in Belgium. The author, Ilze Lāce-Verhaeghe is a lawyer with the European Council in Brussels.
An exerpt from Lāsma Gaitniece's second book published this year, titled Dziednīca pie jūras (Sanatorium by the Sea), is a non-fiction history of a hospital in the city of Liepāja, Latvia. Gaitniece is our newest editorial staff member.
Dr. Inguna Daukste-Silasproģe of the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art at the University of Latvia describes Jānis Jaunsudrabiņš’ life in exile in post-war Germany. Jaunsudrabiņš was a profound nationalist whose drawings and stories are fundamental to every Latvian’s education.
Fridrihs Milts (1906-1993) was a Latvian painter of the so-called Hell’s Kitchen school in New York City. He left behind a rich legacy, currently on display in the Latvian National Museum of Art in Rīga. Exhibition curator Dace Lamberga offers seven photographs of his oil paintings and describes Milts' life and work. The cover design of this issue features a charcoal sketch of the view from his apartment window in Hell's Kitchen.
Members and supporters of the American Latvian Artists Association (ALMA) have met at a retreat annually for 39 years. For twelve of these the organization was headed by Ģirts Puriņš. Our art editor Linda Treija, president of ALMA since 2010, reports on this year’s meeting, which was devoted to a retrospective of Puriņš’ art and to a celebration of his life. An acrylic by Puriņš appears on page 1.
Contributing editor Lilita Zaļkalne takes a scholarly look at the history of literary supplements to Dzimtenes balss (Voice of the Homeland), a publication of the Central Committee of the Latvian SSR, which were mailed gratis from Latvia to Latvians in exile, but hidden from Latvians in the homeland.
Madara Eversone’s sixth and final installment of the history of the Soviet Latvian Writers Union 1956-1969 concludes that, even though relative freedom regularly reverted to severe censorship, a strong Latvian literary culture prevailed.
MEMORIES AND ACTUALITIES
Atis Lejiņš, founder of Latvia’s Foreign Policy Institute and long-time member of Latvia’s parliament, reflects on his childhood and upbringing in exile in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia.
In April 2017, well-known Latvian media personality Otto Ozols hiked the length of the state of Catalonia, 480 km, to demonstrate his personal support for Catalonia’s independence from Spain. In this issue, two weeks after Catalonia’s referendum vote on October 1 and shortly before independence was formally declared, he delivers a passionate argument for their cause.
Juris Šlesers reviews Inara Verzemnieks’ English-language family saga and memoir, Among the Living and the Dead.
Lāsma Gaitniece reviews two books, Kristīne Ulberga’s, Tur (There), from the series published by Dienas grāmata on the history of the twentieth century, and Sarkanā Džoana, a translation of Jennie Rooney’s Red Joan, the story of the life of a British spy for the Soviet Union.
In the Slippery Slope section, Juris Žagariņš tries his hand at putting into Latvian some prose poems of American poet Matthew Minicucci from his latest collection, Small Gods.