Jaunā Gaita nr. 283. Ziema 2015
LITERATURE, LITERARY COMMENTARY
We continue our year-long celebration of the sesquicentennial jubilee of poets/playwrights Rainis and Aspazija. The frontispiece features Rainis’ 1906 poem “Ezers” (The Lake). Contemporary poet/translator Leons Briedis follows with an essay on Rainis’ place in the culture of Europe. Pauls Raudseps, a leading contemporary journalist and commentator, reflects on Rainis’ dream – and eventual failure – to become a political leader in the newborn state of Latvia after World War I. Poet/artist Sarma Muižniece Liepiņa winds up her three-part account of a celebratory gathering in Marfa, a small town in the West Texas desert.
The story of “Brunhilda’s Ride to Hell” is rendered from an Old Icelandic epic poem (Edda) into the Latvian language by Uldis Bērziņš.
The current fragment from Ainārs Zelčs’ novel of historic fiction Abrene 2002 imagines industry thriving in the easternmost region of Latvia as if World War II had never happened.
Benita Veisberga, a prose stylist and contributor to this magazine since its inception 60 years ago, shares intimate observations and reflections on topics ranging from the trials of housekeeping to the frightening world events of the present time.
Valters Nollendorfs dedicates his poem “Solveigai” (For Solveiga) to his academic colleague Solveiga Miezīte (1937-2015).
Rudīte Mazūre Godfrey, a graphic artist and art educator, offers a sample of her poetry.
VISUAL ART AND MUSIC
Pēteris Korsaks, historian and practioner of the art of photography, gives an illustrated account of the life of photographer Eduards Zariņš (1875-1954).
Our Associate Editor Linda Treija provides an introduction to the art of Lauris Mīlbrets. Samples of his paintings are reproduced on pages 15, 34, and 45, as well as the cover of this issue.
Laima Martinska describes a Latvian diaspora event – a song and dance festival in San Jose, California, last fall.
Dace Aperāne, an accomplished composer, conductor, and musicologist, describes the genesis of the critically acclaimed 24 hour “marathon” of contemporary Latvian music she organized for New York City’s radio station WQXR. The program was broadcast twice last fall.
HISTORY AND ACTUALITIES
Independent journalist Sanita Upleja suggests that historically the foremost Latvian writers, e.g., Rainis, Aspazija, Skalbe, had also been socially/politically responsible in their works. The essayist is critical of those present day belletrists/artists who argue exclusively for the doctrine of l’art pour l’art or art for art’s sake.
Poet/translator Jānis Elsbergs and political commentator Franks Gordons separately confront language evolution and/or degeneration in their respective comments on present day Latvian language norms.
The current installment of Sandis Laime’s treatise on the history of witchcraft in Northeastern Latvia reveals that wolves and thunder were witches’ agents.
In our History section, Ritvars Jansons continues his treatise on the Soviet security apparatus in Latvia, including its evolution and its role in neutralizing resistance movements in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
The section “Dažos vārdos” (In a Few Words) offers broad perspective on cultural and sociopolitical current events in Latvia, Russia and Eastern Europe.
Latvijas bāreņi, kuri pazaudēja savu dzimteni (Latvia’s Orphans Who Lost Their Homeland), a collection of documents edited by historian Jānis Riekstiņš (reviewed by Juris Šlesers).Marianna Auliciema et al. – ed. Dziesma. Svētki. Dzīve. / Stāsti par latviešu dziesmu svētkiem ārzemēs (Stories about Latvian Song Festivals Abroad) (Juris Šlesers).
Eva Eglāja-Kristsone. Dzelzsgriezēji: Latvijas un Rietumu trimdas rakstnieku kontakti (Iron Cutters: Cultural Contacts between Soviet Latvian and Latvian Exile Writers) (Rolfs Ekmanis).
Anita Liepiņa comments on the work of Finnish writer Sofi Oksanen as it pertains to the Baltic experience under the Soviets.