Jaunā Gaita nr. 285. Vasara 2016



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JG 285


We mark the untimely passing of Ilmārs Blumbergs (1943-2016), one of Latvia’s premier artists, with photos and reproductions on the frontispiece and on pages 5, 28 and 29. JG associate editor Linda Treija characterizes him as an imaginative thinker of powerful humility: "To him a particle of dust and a star were the same size."

The cover art is by Brencis Sils.



Long-time JG editor and poet/artist Voldemārs Avens shares samples of his most recent poetry, displaying gentle humor suffused with profundity.

Poet/translator Uldis Bērziņš shares thoughts and insights on putting into Latvian the Old Norse Poetic Edda.

In the current episode of his novel Abrene 2002 (based on the premise that WWII never happened), Ainārs Zelčs has the Soviet Union trying to come to terms with Europe and the USA for the sake of economic development.

A short story in dialogue by Lienīte Medne-Spāre portrays an elderly couple meeting face to face after thirty years apart, having rediscovered each other on Facebook.

“The Jester’s Address” by lyricist Jānis Elsbergs, abridged in Kārlis Lācis' recent musical production Jeanne d’Arc, is given here in full.

Poet, graphic artist, and art/literature historian, Ojārs Jēgens (1924-1993), was an influential figure in the Latvian postwar exile community. Our frequent contributor, culturologist Jānis Krēsliņš, Sr., summarizes Jēgens’ life and work.

Sandis Laime (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art, University of Latvia) concludes his study of witchlore in Northeastern Latvia.

Independent journalist Sanita Upleja writes about hypocrisy toward Latvian women during the Soviet occupation.

Ildze Kronta’s essay, dedicated to her father who perished in one of the numerous Soviet gulags (Norillag), covers literary criticism and the intellectual milieu under the Soviets and during the early post-Soviet years.

Writer/physician Jānis Liepiņš reports on materials recently discovered at the Latvian National Archives about writer/pedagogue Pāvils Vīlips (1901-1979).



Editor/publicist Ligita Kovtuna interviews Tālavs Jundzis, a deputy in Latvia’s Supreme Council during the time of separation from the Soviet Union, and first Minister of Defense after Latvia regained its independence.

Franks Gordons, author of several books and a frequent contributor of political and historical commentaries to Latvian periodicals, writes about a brutally repressed Central Asian uprising against Russia in 1916.

Jānis Liepiņš shares a lecture delivered at a conference in commemoration of the life of historian/writer Uldis Ģērmanis (1915-1997). The focus is on Ģērmanis’ student years.

Juris Šlesers looks at the life work of Baltic German journalist, editor and politician Paul Schiemann (1876-1944), as depicted in a biography titled Defender of Minorities by British historian John Hiden.

Ieva Vītola reports on an ethnographic research tour she led recently in Siberia, visiting villages that have been populated by Latvian communities since the second half of the nineteenth century.

Historian Valters Ščerbinskis argues that, in public discourse, the neutral term “Soviet era” (padomju laiki) ought to be replaced by “Soviet occupation”, in order to accentuate its destructive ramifications.

The section “Dažos vārdos” (In a Few Words) succinctly summarizes important cultural events and recent publications, as well as sociopolitical actualities relevant to the Baltic region.



Baltijas bēgļi Dāvida Holmerta fotogrāfijās 1944-1945 (Baltic Refugees in photographs of David Holmert 1944-1945) (reviewed by Māra Zirnīte).

Sarmīte Radiņa. Pļavas nomniece (Pasture Tenant), a book of poetry (Gundega Zēhauza-Seehaus).

Līga Blaua. Jānis Stradiņš: Ceļš cauri laikiem (Jānis Stradiņš: A Path Through Time), a biography of the influential academician, chemist and historian of science (Nikolajs Balabkins).

Uldis Siliņš. Atskatīties, pasmaidīt. Autobiogrāfiskas piezīmes, 1930-1945 (Looking Back with a Smile. Autobiographical Notations, 1930-1945) (Anita Apele).

Gaidot vārdus (Awaiting Words), a selection of prose works by the contemporary Estonian writer and literary theorist Jaan Undusk (Anna Andersone).


Jaunā Gaita