Jaunā Gaita Nr. 259. decembris 2009

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JG 259



are both represented by our featured artist, Maija Šlesere (nom de plume − Maija Meirāne). Her latest poetry graces this issue, as well as color reproductions of two monotypes. Her collage, “Homage ŕ Thomas Bezanson”, is on the front cover. As a graphic artist Meirāne is an abstractionist; her energyladen images empower the viewer to visualize more than the eye can see. Baiba Bičole writes of Meirāne’s poetry: Being secure in her latvianness, [she] is open to the rest of the world, to its spiritual life on many levels. In Meirāne’s own words: I believe in the power of words / blazing up anew / when Rilke and Elliot sing in foreign tongues / when young writers somewhere in Vidzeme / gather together at dawn.

  • An abstract monochrome in India ink on wood by Aigars Kildišs and several photographs by Juris Kornets round out the formal visual offerings of this issue.

  • Art historian Māris Brancis reports on the retrospective exhibit in Rīga of Voldemārs Avens’ art, which was featured in the last issue of JG.

  • Indra Gubiņa, author of 27 books as well as many poems, stories and meditations published in JG, describes her autumnal garden, naming each flower and reminiscing on its connections with her own life.

  • In a fragment from a book in progress, Juris Rozītis describes the hilariously different effects of pot smoking and beer drinking on the social behavior of Australian high school students.

  • Irēne Avena, writing about literary historian, Dace Lūse (University of Latvia), and her latest book Latvian Literature and the Political Collisions of the 20th Century, concludes: The more I think about Dace Lūse, ... The more she becomes in my mind something like the Bearslayer or Hercules cleaning the Augean stables...

  • Juris Šlesers writes about a doctoral dissertation (University of Stockholm) by Anette Reinsch-Cambell on the changing portrayal of Jews in Latvian fiction in the decade 1934-1944. Although overt anti-semitism was rare, there did take place a passive distancing between Latvians and Jews, which may have paved the way to eventual dehumanization.

  • In a poem written to honor the memory of Dr. Valdis Muižnieks (1927-2009), who contributed much of himself to the Latvian political exile community, Juris Kronbergs likens Muižnieks to a wheel which has been improved by reinvention.


were celebrated for the thirteenth time in Canada in the Latvian Song and Dance Festival in Hamilton, Ontario, July 1-5. Ivars Antēns reports on the excellent time he had there as participant and spectator, and two photographs by Juris Kornets show the dancers literally levitating off the floor.

  • Conductor and composer Andrejs Jansons comments on a tour of North America by three tenors of the Latvian National Opera.


  • Eva Eglāja-Kristsone, in Part 5 of her forthcoming book on cultural contacts between Latvia under the Soviets and the Latvian exile community in the West, spotlights the years 1976-1979.

  • Nikolajs Balabkins relates some personal experiences as a Latvian legionnaire in West Prussia in January 1945, and makes clear how hellishly muddled the war had become by then.

  • In an essay written on board a U.S. troop carrier ferrying refugees from Germany to the United States in 1949, Marģers Grīns bemoans loss of personal identity and describes how fellow countrymen instinctively gravitated to each other.

  • The literal centerpiece of this issue is a 32 page article titled “Working at Latvia’s Radio 1938-1944” by Pāvils Ieviņš. As a young clerk, and later as legal consultant at the Radio, he had a unique perspective on the turbulent events and popular personalities of those years. The article is enhanced by many fine photographs generously provided by the Rīga Museum of Literature, Theater and Art (RTMM).

  • Historian Gatis Krūmiņš presents new evidence that Latvia’s “benevolent dictator”, president Kārlis Ulmanis, in 1940, formally requested a pension from the occupying Russians before being deported to Kazakhstan.

  • The Marginalia section, as usual, covers deaths, books, awards, art exhibits, theater, music, film, periodicals and current events, not only in Latvia and its diaspora, but also in Poland, Russia, Belarus, and the Mideast.


  • Māra Zālīte’s To mēs nezinām: conversations with Imants Ziedonis (reviewed by Ildze Kronta)

  • Lidija Dombrovska’s remembrances and essays, Virzības viļņojums, and Jānis Liepiņš’ essays, Tautas turētāji, (both by Juris Silenieks)

  • The poetry of Fikret Demirağ, Gaisos tālu medību balsis / Havada ince av sleseri, translated from the Turkish by Uldis Bērziņš (Juris Rozītis)

  • Viktors Hausmanis’ and Benedikts Kalnačs’, Latviešu literatūras procesi un personības (Rolfs Ekmanis)

  • Ilze Konstante’s monograph on artist Jānis Osis (Māris Brancis)

  • Janīna Kursīte’s interviews and essays, Sfumato nesfumato (Anita Liepiņa).

  • Journal of Baltic Studies, June 2008 (Gundars Ķeniņš Kings).



Jaunā Gaita