Jaunā Gaita nr. 274. rudens 2013

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JG 274



Poet, essayist, critic and editor, Leons Briedis is known to our loyal readers for his far-fetched imagery and love of paradox. Here he treats us to eight of his latest poems and one written some 30 years ago, long before the fall of the Iron Curtain, in which he admonishes those who chose exile to look back to our origins by looking into our own hearts: If we were to become / Like leaves of a tree, / Torn from where we belong, / In eternity we shall remain / Bound to our nation.

Uldis Bērziņš introduces his translation of a 23-verse “Religious Tract” by Polish poet of Lithuanian origin, Nobel Prize winner (1980) Czesław Miłosz (1911-2004): An old master of his craft need not show off or prove himself. ... It suffices to weave one’s words toward a humbler goal, more tantamount to truth.

Ligita Levinska, in her continuing analysis of Jānis Klīdzējs’ (1914-2000) prose, ascertains that his stories and novels involve movement and dislocation in labyrinthine spacetime.

In the fifth installment of her study of Fricis Bārda (1880-1919), Una Alksne delves into the romanticist poet’s aestheticization of death.



Māris Brancis continues his in-depth study of artist Laimonis Mieriņš (1929-2011), “Wizard of Color and Line”.

Brancis also comments on a grand retrospective exhibition in Rīga from March through July of this year, involving more than 200 examples of Latvian art in exile. Displayed on the pages of this issue are paintings by Ēriks Dukāts, Edvīns Strautmanis and Lidija Dombrovska-Larsena and a sculpture by Gints Grīnbergs – selected from this exhibit by our art editor Linda Treija.he cover art is by Haralds Norītis



Rolfs Ekmanis’ continuing account of Latvian-language radio broadcasting from the West during the Cold War comes to the years 1975-1984 at Radio Liberty in Munich, Germany.

In the second installment of his treatise on witchcraft in Latvia, Sandis Laime examines historical court documents to explore the terminology applied to women accused of this practice. The Latvian word “ragana”, which originally meant simply “seer” acquired much more sinister connotations in the sermons of the feudal baronial Christian clergy.

Uldis Bērziņš and Leons Briedis share reminiscences from the year 1968, when optimistic movements on both sides of the Iron Curtain toward socialism with a human face suffered a grim setback with the military suppression of the so-called Prague Spring.

The Misiņš Library, now administered by the University of Latvia, has been, since its foundation in 1885, a major repository of Latvian national literature. Mārtiņš Lasmanis acquaints us with its curator from 1925-1952, Kārlis Egle, whose copious diaries testify to the library’s lively and important role in the cultural life of the nation.



Juris Šlesers shares insights on Latvian national self-image in Katrina Z.S. Schwartz’s book Nature and National Identity after Communism / Globalizing the Ethnoscape (2006). Traditionally seeing themselves as an agrarian people while nevertheless steadily migrating to the cities or emigrating in order to make ends meet, many enterprising Latvians are now discovering real value, both economic and social, in the renewal and cultivation of their abandoned farmsteads.

Estonian writer Daniel Vaarik satirizes the confusing post-Soviet years in his country’s media establishment by giving a humorous account of his own youthful journalistic praxis.

“In a Few Words”, our editors compile the usual comprehensive digest of cultural news and information from Latvia, from the diaspora, from Latvia’s nearest neighbors and from all over the geopolitical domain.

“Kiberkambaris” (Cyberchamber) features an article from Otto Ozols’ blog on TVNET.LV titled “Intelligence and Intellectuals Have Never Been Taken Seriously in Politics.”



Scientiae et Patriae. A Festschrift in Honour of Vaira Vīķe Freiberga on Her 75th Birthday, compiled by Ausma Cimdiņa (University of Latvia), is reviewed by Rolfs Ekmanis.

Kro-Kro – the correspondence between poet Knuts Skujenieks and his wife Inta during the time he was sentenced to seven years in a Soviet labor camp is reviewed by Anda Kubuliņa (University of Latvia).

Nora Ikstena. Life Stories –Vita Gaiķe comments on a visit to Toronto by the book’s translator into English, Margita Gailītis, and its publisher (Guernica Editions) Michael Mirolla.

Saša Sokolovs. Muļķu skola (School of Fools), a novel recently translated from the Russian into Latvian by Maira Asare, is reviewed by Lāsma Ģibiete (University of Western Hungary).

Journal of Baltic Studies 44/1 (March 2013) is reviewed by Gundars Ķeniņš Kings.


Jaunā Gaita