Jaunā Gaita nr. 267. ziema 2011
LETTERS AND ARTS
An eighteen-page photo essay by the eminent photojournalist Uldis Briedis culminates our year-long celebration of Latvia’s renewal of independence twenty years ago; Rolfs Ekmanis shares personal insight on the career and character of the man behind the camera.
Voldemārs Avens writes that Ilmārs Rumpēters’ cover designs over many decades (also for the current issue) are a big reason why Jaunā Gaita is admired by the international graphic design community.
We feature full-page reproductions of paintings by Rumpēters, Vineta Kaulača, and Fricis Zandbergs. Art editor Linda Treija introduces Vineta Kaulača and explains that her stark, photorealistic images mean to convey a sense of motion or passage of time as no photographic snapshot can. Māris Brancis writes that the promising career of Linda Treija’s grandfather Fricis Zandbergs (1910-1972) was cut short in Rīga by WWII and deportation to Siberia.
Helēna Gintere reviews the career of conductor Andris Nelsons, a global superstar at age 33, and quotes him on the disproportionately large Latvian presence on the world stage of music: [Latvians] are outwardly shy and reserved, but internally strong [..] in music they see their chance to express their strength.
In seven pages of poetry, Anna Foma comes across as playful but melancholic. According to Maija Meirāne, she invents a language of self-deception for us to salve our despair − little fibs which provoke a momentary smile and distract us from our depressing condition.
In a first-person prose composition, Madara Rutkēviča tries but fails to cope with a hostile invasion of her apartment by a large tree branch, a surreal manifestation of an all too real childhood memory.
Laima Kalniņa shares a Christmas meditation, “My Many Lives”.
LITERARY COMMENT AND REMEMBRANCES
Jānis Elsbergs brings to bear his personal knowledge and perspective on a recently published collection titled Virtuves piezīmes (Kitchen Comments) by Dzintars Sodums (1922-2008) and on contrasting reviews by Nora Ikstena and Ieva Lešinska.
Writer, poet, and translator in the Georgian and Ukrainian languages, Raul Chilachava was Ukraine’s ambassador to Latvia from 2006 to 2010. Imants Auziņš reviews his memoir of those four years, Approaching Latvia, and enumerates his important contributions to Latvia’s literary culture.
Lilita Zaļkalne, Juris Rozītis and Uldis Grasis pay tribute to the life of poet, translator, playwright and director Jānis Gulbītis (pseudonym Viesiens) (1916-2011).
Notwithstanding the delicate musicality of her poetry, Elza Ķezbere (1911-2011) was a tough personality who survived much hardship and, in Dagmāra Vallena’s words, lived as if in debt to death.
Juris Šlesers posits that Latvianness can best be conveyed to the younger generations of our emigré community by sharing personal experience sincerely and candidly; he sees in Māra Celle’s memoir The Long Journey Home a good case in point.
ACTUALITIES AND OPINION
“In a Few Words” we cover the important social, cultural and political happenings in Latvia, around Latvia, and on the larger world stage. Special attention is devoted to the unseemly turmoil engendered by the special parliamentary election last September.
Our internet listserv debaters in “Kiberkambaris” agree on the need for a proper left wing in the ethnic Latvian political spectrum.
Ilga Reizniece reflects on the Latvian tradition of communing and sharing food with our ancestors when the earth goes dormant in late fall.
Baiba Bičole. Citviet (Elsewhere) − Jānis Liepiņš shares his impressions on hearing a recital.
Voldemārs Avens. Avena dzejoļi (Avens’ Poems) − reviewed by Jānis Liepiņš
Aina Zemdega. No sapņa uz īstenību (From Dream to Reality) − Juris Silenieks; also a poem from Imants Auziņš, “On reading Aina Zemdega”
Andris Ogriņš. Zem pulksteņa pulkstenis (A Clock Beneath the Clock), a collection of poems − Anna Auziņa
Per Olov Enquist. Ett Annat liv (Swedish: Another Life), a memoir including a chapter on the author’s involvement with the issue of Sweden’s extradition of Latvian legionnaires to the Soviet Union in 1946 − Jānis Krēsliņš, Sr.
Sofi Oksanen. Attīrīšanās (Purgatory), a Latvian translation from the Finnish novel − Maira Asare; the same novel in Swedish translation Utrensning − Aina Siksna
Heinrihs Strods. PSRS politiskā cenzūra Latvijā 1940-1990 (USSR Political Censorship in Latvia 1940 -1990, vol. 2) − Dainis Mjartāns
Latvju Teksti issues 3 & 4 (spring and summer 2011) − Anita Liepiņa
Gundars Ķeniņš Kings. Krīzes laika komentāri (Commentaries In a Time of Crisis), a book of lessons on the global economy − Andris Pētersons
Journal of Baltic Studies (June 2011) − Gundars Ķeniņš Kings.