Jaunā Gaita nr. 239, decembris 2004

JG 239

Aristotle's observation that poetry is truer than history because of its power to condense and represent the multifarious in the typical, definitely applies to Juris Kronbergs' ode, written on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of ELJA, the Latvian political exile youth movement in Europe. The poet moves freely and swiftly between past and present in his narrative poem. Lilita Zaļkalne's (Stockholm University) and Herberts Zālītis' reminiscences provide information on the historical and biographical background of Fricis Dziesma (1906-2004) and his poetry, written in Latvia and, tater, in political exile in Sweden. With Valdemārs Ancītis' remembrances we are continuing to address the phenomenon that is Māris Čaklais, one of the most influential figures in Latvian letters from the 1960s until his death in 2003, i.e., under the Soviets and during the first 12 years of Latvia's regained independence. The fast paced narrative of Egīls Venters, excerpted from his forthcoming novel, centers around a strange incident - a flight from Copenhagen hits a mysterious „time pocket", while approaching the airport of Rīga.

Latvian Song Festivals, prominent events dating from the national renaissance in the 19th century, have played an important part in Latvian music history and, simultaneously, demonstrated national cultural solidarity for Latvians everywhere, including the tens of thousands of post World War II political exiles in Western Europe and the North American continent. Olģerts and Marta Cakars provide illuminating observations of the numerous orchestral and choral performances at the most recent festival outside Latvia - in Toronto, Canada (July 2004). Astrīda Straumane Ramrath analyzes and evaluates the premiere of the musical Eslingena (the brainchild of Alberts Legzdiņš) - to many the real highlight of the Festival. It takes the viewer back to the huge Latvian refugee camp in Esslingen in the U.S. occupation zone of Germany in the 1940s. While Inese Lūsiņa reports on a recent creative 8athering of Latvian composers and musicians in Ri-8a, our co-editor, Juris Silenieks, traces the remarkable career of Mariss Jansons, who has just resigned the post of musical director of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to become the head of Amsterdam's world-famous Royal Koncertgebouw.

Within the Soviet Union, in the 1920s and 1930s, there were innovative artistic developments associated with photomontage, largely for propaganda purposes. Voldemārs Avens offers his evaluation of the works of one of the movement's most outstanding participants, Gustavs Klucis (1895 - ?), whose works recently were exhibited at New York's International Center of Photography. The artist, accused of „theatricalisation of Lenin", was arrested in 1938 and sent to a Soviet labor camp where he perished a few years tater. JG Art Editor Avens also 8tyes a glimpse into the life of the prolific artist and chairman of the University of Pittsburgh Art Department, Ģirts Puriņš (1937 - 2004). Laimonis Mieriņš, recipient of a recent prize for his art endeavors, reveals the happenings around the British 2004 Turner Award. Janīna Kursīte (University of Latvia) reports on the current state of the once very active craft of pottery in Latgale and Ojārs Spārītis (Latvia's Academy of Culture) explores the wave of historical church reconstruction.

Our internet discussions, compiled by Juris Žagariņš, focus on filmmaker Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and some of the reasons for the serious crisis of democracy in the U.S.

Cultural historian Jānis Krēsliņš in his review article gives an insightful account of Viktors Straubs' book chronicling his experiences during World War II as an army doctor. The book under the scrutiny of Guntis Berelis is Juris Kronbergs' ninth and most recent poetry collection, in which the poet is both personal and stoic yet lyrically controlled in confronting the changing world. Berelis who has a commanding reputation as a literary critic, also reviews a novel by the seasoned writer Pauls Bankovskis set in the final years of Soviet rule in Latvia. Rimands Ceplis, a doctoral candidate at the University of Latvia, writes about Inga Kārlštrēma's epistolary novel in which the protagonists are communicating by email. Aina Siksna discusses a book of modernistic feminist short stories which show their author, Nora Ikstena, at her best. Rasma Birzgale's review is devoted to the English translation of two verse dramas by Aspazija, one of Latvia's foremost female poets and dramatists. The translator Astrīda Stahnke, a poet and writer herself, has also contributed to her Aspazija volume a detailed biographical introduction and critical observations. Frank Gordon evaluates the 2003 Yearbook of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, Benedikts Kalnačs looks at the changes in the literary monthly Karogs under the new editorship of Ieva Kolmane, the last issue of Luna is reviewed by Juris Silenieks and the Fall 2004 issue of Journal of Baltic Studies - by Pacific Lutheran University's dean and professor emeritus, Gundars Ķeniņš King.

We are featuring art photographs by the internationally known Māra Brašmane, and color reproductions of paintings by Ināra Matīsa and Elviga Sebre. The front cover is by Ilmārs Rumpēters.


Juris Zommers and Rolfs Ekmanis

Jaunā Gaita