Jaunā Gaita nr. 151, februāris 1985

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JG 151

Several themes and authors are prominently represented in this issue. We begin with an excerpt from Margita Gūtmane's prose work pati diena (That Same Day), which was awarded the Jaunsudrabiņš' literary prize in 1984 (along with a work by Zinta Aistara). Mārtiņš Lasmanis interviews Gūtmane on page 4 of this issue. Gūtmane is one of the few authors of the post-war exile generation, those who grew up and were educated outside Latvia and who are thus more "at home" in the languages of their adopted countries than in their native Latvian, to write an extended prose work in Latvian. Gūtmane has attempted to portray what she calls the "schizophrenic exile condition" of her generation in Tā pati diena. Gūtmane has also published three volumes of poetry in Latvian and has recently begun to write poetry in German.

Veronika Strēlerte's latest volume of poetry, Pusvārdiem (Half-words) (Stockholm: Daugava, 1982) is the subject of an essay by Gundars Pļavkalns, who calls it "one of the finest books of poetry published in our exile community", but senses in it "an atmosphere of soul-weariness", of disillusionment with "both humanity and the achievements and aims of civilization". Pļavkalns also reviews the anthology of essays on Strēlerte's life and work, along with a selection of her early poems, which are no longer easily available, compiled by Margita Gūtmane. The anthology was published by Atvase of Stockholm in honour of Strēlerte's 70'th birthday in 1982.

The third author highlighted in this issue is novelist Jānis Klīdzējs. Klīdzejs himself offers an engaging account of his earliest efforts to be published, in Rīga in the 1930's, and of his literary mentor, Aleksandrs Grīns, while Jānis Andrups reviews Klīdzejs' latest novel Otrais mūsos (New York: Grāmatu Draugs, 1984). The setting of the novel is a large American psychiatric hospital (Klīdzējs worked for many years at such an institution). Several of the patients are Latvians, as well as a young sociologist, Jānis, and the novel's action centers on the interaction of Jānis and the patients. Klīdzējs analyzes the patients' illnesses and finds their underlying cause to be the problems and moral contradictions of our time. Through the Latvian patients, Klīdzējs is able to examine not only the problems of our civilization as a whole, but also the problems of Latvians in exile and their brothers in Latvia. The novel covers a lot of philosophical and psychological ground; however, Andrups asserts that "this...material has not been left at the level of journalism, but has been worked into artistically convincing characterizations and destinies."

The song festival organized by the World Association of Free Latvians, in Münster, Germany, in the summer of 1984, receives a lot of attention in this issue. Pēteris Aldiņš, the leader of the folkloric music ensemble "Kolibri", gives his impressions of all of the festival's musical events, while composer Andris Vītoliņš offers a review of the festival's performance, in concert, of the opera Baņuta, along with interesting background information about the opera and his opinions of the opera's musical value. The Lithuanian bass/baritone Algis Grigas, who has sung the dual roles of Valgudis/Daumants in all three performances of Baņuta produced by the New York Latvian Concert Choir, has also been an invaluable financial supporter of the production.

Our series of the future of nationalism continues in this issue with Eduards Upenieks view that, in this century, the greatest enemies of the Latvian nation, as well as other small nations in similar circumstances, have been Russian national chauvinism, masquerading as Soviet Bolshevism, German Nazi chauvinism and American benign indifference to the fate of small nations. Jānis Tupesis describes his ideal Latvian world-view, which he bases on Latvian folklore. Tupesis maintains that the world-view that is found in the "dainas" has evolved naturally in one culture living in a certain natural and social environment, rather than being handed down "from above" in the manner of the Christian world-view, for example.

We have reprinted the full text of Brunis Rubess' speech to the assembly commemorating the 66'th anniversary of the declaration of Latvia's independence in New York City last November. Rubess' theme is the future of Latvians in exile and the changes we are going to have to make if we are to have any future as a community. Jaunā Gaita invites readers' comments on the problems raised by Rubess, to be published in future issues.

We have two articles on the theatre in this issue: Ņina Luce, our late (d.10.Jan.1985) theatre editor, discusses recent problems in theatre, both in Latvia and in exile (and their similarities), while Anita Liepiņa discusses Baņuta Rubesa's recent English-language plays, Smoke Damage and Pope Joan, both produced in Toronto in 1984. Pope Joan, "a non-historical investigation into the 9th century legendary pope", is currently one of the finalists for the 1984 Chalmers Canadian Play Awards.

Our regular columnists Nikolajs Bulmanis, Andrievs Ezergailis, Imants Sakss, Juris Mazutis, and Talivaldis Ķiķauka have all contributed interesting articles in their respective fields, while Aina Kraujiete, Lidija Dombrovska, Visvaldis Reimanis, Laimonis Juris G (translated by Anšlavs Eglītis), Ontons Zvīdrs, and Vitauts Ļūdens have contributed to our poetry section in this issue.

Māris Bišofs contributed the drawing on page 41, and the frontispiece is by Ausma Macāte, who exhibited her tapestries in Carmel, California, last year. The cover is by Ilmārs Rumpēters.


Ilze Valdmanis

Jaunā Gaita