Jaunā Gaita nr. 70, 1968

< JG 69   JG 71 >

JG 70

JG 70 bears witness to our profound sympathy for the freedom aspirations of the workers and intellectuals in Czechoslovakia. The poetry selections are highlighted by poems from Ivars Lindbergs (California), Gunars Saliņš (New Jersey), and Benita Veisberga (California), all expressing the mood of protest and powerlessness bred by the Soviet rulers' attempt to crush the Czech and Slovak spirit of independence. There is also Juris Mazutis' (Montreal) example of poetry as public statement, and contributions by Valda Dreimane (Massachusetts), Olafs Stumbrs (Califomia), and Andrejs Irbe (Sweden) adding up, in our judgement, to a miniature anthology of current Latvian émigré verse.

Publisher Ziemeļblāzma in Sweden recently brought out Irbe's first collection of poems, A Lonely Boat Is a Music Note.

In less than five years we have witnessed how three great figures in American life were struck down in a split second of insanity. All three had a dream of „taming the savageness of man and making gentle the life of the world". In the spirit of this, we are publishing Senator Edward Kennedy's memorable farewell address at the flag-draped coffin of his brother Robert.

Juris Mazutis in „The Finder of New Paths" offers a congenial portrait of an appealing figure on the Canadian political scene, the Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who is shaping a new national image for his country.

Valentīns Pelēcis (Minnesota) in his personal and literary reminiscences about the satiric art in Latvian letters from the boisterous days of the New Current in the 1890's to its present decline, implies that most journals had maintained a rather high level of both Horatian (gentle, urbane, smiling) un Juvenalian satire (biting, bitter, angry). But, as Pelēcis notes, because all good satirists, caricaturists, and political cartoonists like to comment critically upon man and his institutions, in some quarters today they are regarded with particular suspicion. In another work that fronts on the strange realities of our day, the same writer speaks harshly about Russia (which under the pretext of socialist cooperation is practicing neocolonialism) and the neoisolationist ideologists in the West. Pelēcis is the author of a poetry collection and three volumes of prose pieces. His brother, the poet Aleksandrs Pelēcis, has spent more than twenty years in Siberian exile.

Dr. Andrievs Ezergailis (Ithaca College) continues his authoritatively documented account „The Election of the Riga City Council in 19I7".

JG 70 coverage of recent books features Gundars Pļavkalns' (Australia) review of Velta Sniķere's (England) collection of „pure poetry", Summons, and Magdalēne Rozentāle's (University of Minnesota) perceptive evaluation of the role language plays in Anšlavs Eglītis' (California) art, in particular his recent prose work, The Court Is in Session. In connection with the 700th anniversary of the birth of Dante Alighieri, a Latvian translation of La Vita nuova was published in Riga. According to our reviewers Ieva and Agnis Balodis (Sweden), the translators, the poet Vizma Belševica and Jānis Liepiņš (both from Riga), have seen to it that the quality of the finished translation be of high standard. However, some passages, especially where Beatrice is identified with Christian salvation, have been distorted or omitted. Mārtiņš Zīverts (who fled to Sweden shortly before the Soviets reoccupied Latvia at the close of World War II) is the most imposing figure among contemporary Latvian playwrights and the author of more than forty plays. He has been an untiring experimentalist from the time he wrote his first play The Catacombs, in 1926. Our contributing editor Ivars Lindbergs discusses Zīvert's Weltanschauung as reflected in his drama Money, written in 1942, and published for the first time in 1967, in Australia. Lindbergs won the 1968 Rainis and Aspazija Award for his book of poetry, Between Arrival and Departure.

The historian Edgars Andersons (San Jose State College) reviews volume six of Acta Baltica (published by Institutum Balticum in Germany), which explores some problems and difficulties in the social and cultural life of Baltic exiles. Dr. Andersons is presently completing a book to be titled The Crimean War and Northeastern Europe. Another member of our editorial board, Dr. Rolfs Ekmanirs (Arizona State University), appraises 379 Days of the Year of Terror, by Jānis Kronlins, who writes about the Soviet educational policy in Latvia, in 1940-41, and Our Latvian Waters, by Pauls Ludvigs, who reminisces nostalgically about the 494-km-long sea coast and the lakes and rivers of Latvia.

The Echoes department is staffed by JG associate editor Gunars Irbe (Sweden), who focusses on Ija Meldere-Dzērve's novel wings of Wax, published in Riga, and Edgars Ardenss' The Wings of Seraph, published in Minneapolis, and Imants Bite (England), who reports on Rudolfs Kronbergs' exhibition of paintings at London's Leighton House Art Galleries.

JG 70 cover is by Ilmārs Rumpēters (New Jersey), our art director.

Jaunā Gaita