Jaunā Gaita Nr. 258. septembris 2009

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JG 258



  • Voldemārs Avens is an artist of image and of word. His paintings and his poetry have achieved wide acclaim over the years in numerous exhibits and on innumerable printed pages. Our readers know him since 1966 as a frequent contributor to Jaunā Gaita and as a contributing editor since 1995. Reproduced here are three canvases from a retrospective exhibit of his paintings (July 16-August 23) in the Latvian National Museum of Art in Rīga. As a painter, Avens is an expressionist with abtractionist leanings, often choosing to depict traditional Latvian architectural details, witness the cover art for this issue. As a poet, Avens is known for his incisive intellect and his subtle humor, witness his poem „Freedom is the onset of constraint”, where he proclaims: Even if you are right, every right bears a wrong, like a shorn poodle’s tail...

  • Anita Dzirne-Irlen, contributes three poems about three regions of the U.S.: „The Middle (Plains)”, where one is afraid to stay, afraid to flee..., „The West (Drought)”, where one arrives as a refugee..., and „The East (Nearness)”, where one is closer to home than ever.

  • Benita Veisberga’s literary musings spin off from incidents around her home – a spilled pot of garlic-spinach soup, a pair of fussing chicadees at her window, the shadow of an oleander dancing over a painting on the wall.

  • The Völuspá (Prophecy of the Völva, or Nordic priestess), translated from Old Islandic into fancifully poetic Latvian by Uldis Bērziņš, tells the story of the creation of the world and its coming end.

  • Of four black and white images reproduced here two are the photographic compositions of Jānis Gleizds, introduced in an essay by Vilnis Auziņš, another is a photo portrait of poet Uldis Bērziņš by Rimands Ceplis, and a fourth is by Arnis Balčus from an exhibit titled „Amnesia” at the RMT (Rīgas Mākslas telpa), described by Laimonis Mieriņš.

  • Linda Treija reports on an exhibit titled „Latvian Dimensions, Contemporary Installations and Sculpture” at the Embassy of Latvia in Washington, DC.


  • The latest installment of Eva Eglāja-Kristsone’s study of „The Dynamics of Contacts Between Occupied Latvia and the Latvian Diaspora” focuses on the years 1972-1975. During this time, the editors of Jaunā Gaita became embroiled in discord within the diaspora community as well as among themselves on the issue of the proper measure of restraint in such contacts.

  • Aspazija (1865-1943) lives! Rūta Dzenīte reports that the home of the romantic nationalist poet in Jūrmala, the seaside suburb of Rīga, has become a museum and a gathering place for all who still draw inspiration from her life.

  • Aina Siksna writes that, although Zenta Mauriņa (1897-1978) and Jānis Rudzītis (1909-1970) seldom saw eye-to-eye in life, she sees her two larger-than-life teachers as best of friends in the afterlife.

  • Among Franks Gordons’ „Snippets of memory” is a vision of himself on his father’s shoulders watching the unveiling of Latvia’s Freedom Monument in Rīga, fleeing the turmoil of WWII and returning to Rīga, reading Vizma Belševica’s poetry in 1969 as an anti-communist manifesto, visiting artist Vitauts Sīmanis in Chicago in 1981, working to set straight the record of the war.

  • In his continuing memoir of DP Camp life in Alt-Garge, Germany, Uldis Siliņš waxes sardonic: Sex? What is that?

  • Jānis Krēsliņš Sr. comments on an interview in Rūjienas Laiks with actress Hilda Uršteina.

  • Ivars Antēns, inspired by an issue of Sven Birkerts’ literary magazine Agni, looks into an expanded republication of Robert Frank’s once controversial, now classic book of photographs The Americans, originally published by Grove Press in 1959.

  • Denizens of the SVEIKS listserv discuss whether even repatriate “trimdies” can escape the economic crisis in Latvia by re-emigrating.

  • The Marginalia section, as usual, succinctly covers a vast range of cultural topics.


  • Uldis Bērziņš’ latest poetry book Saruna ar Pastnieku (reviewed by Santa Skujiņa)

  • Astrīde Ivaska’s poems and poetry translations Dzeja un atdzeja

  • Aina Zemdega’s collected works Raksti (both by Juris Silenieks)

  • Anita Liepa’s Central Asian travelogue Austrumu motīvs (Māra Stabiņa)

  • Inga Ābele’s novel Paisums (Astra Roze)

  • A collection of articles on Latvian architecture Latviešu arhitektu teorētiskie raksti (Vitolds Vītols)

  • Robert Fearnley’s volume on postage stamps Latvian Issues (Juris Raudseps)

  • Inese Aide’s study of Ventspils at the end of WWII Vētra liedagā (Anita Liepiņa)

  • Thomas von Vegesack’s Utan hem i tiden and Robert Schweitzer’s Finnland, das Zarenreich und die Deutschen (both by Jānis Krēsliņš Jr.)

  • Journal of Baltic Studies, March 2009 (Gundars Ķeniņš Kings)



Jaunā Gaita