Jaunā Gaita nr. 300. pavasaris 2020





We mark the publication of our 300th issue by glancing back at our historical beginnings. We have reprinted two essays from winter issue 1955 (JG #2). In the first, Arturs Kaugars (1910-1971), a poet and educator whose home in exile was Kalamazoo, MI, reminds us that our true home is Latvia. In the second, Valters Nollendorfs, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, our first chief editor, now chairman of the board at the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, challenges the Latvian exile community to cultivate a vibrant culture “grounded in the past and present, but confidently looking to the future.”

Teacher-musician Signe Rirdance reports on a reunion performance she organized last fall in Stockholm, Sweden, for the rock groups “Dundurs” and “Stokholmas spēlmaņi”. For more than half a century their concerts and recordings have been a vibrant part of exile/emigré Latvian culture.

In a piece titled “Pierobežas dvēsele” (“Borderland Soul”), writer Sabīne Košeleva talks to a librarian in the town of Kārsava, near the eastern border of Latvia, about what has changed and what has not changed since the end of Soviet occupation.


We have selections of poetry by Lolita Gulbe, Ilmārs Šlāpins, Māris Salējs, Eva Mārtuža, Juris Helds and Agita Draguna. Short stories are by Oskars Vizbulis, Inga Pizāne, Kristīne Želve, and Kristīne Ilziņa. Our literature editor, Vladis Spāre, is a writer who holds much sway among the literati of Rīga.

V I S U A L   A R T

Art editor Linda Treija, president of the American Latvian Artists Association (ALMA), introduces Henrijs (Henri) Preiss, who lives and works in New Mexico. Five of his colorful mandala-like geometrical compositions are displayed in the body of this issue; one is incorporated in the cover design.

Lalita Muižniece, founder of the Latvian Studies Center at Western Michigan University and lecturer at the University of Latvia, shares memories of her encounters with painter Džemma Skulme (1925-2019). Some of Skulme’s art is depicted throughout the issue.


Contributing editor Lāsma Gaitniece reviews two books. Anita Bormane’s Kā var aizmirst… Dzīve Latvijā 20. gs. 20-30 gados (How can we forget… Life in Latvia in the 20’s and 30’s of the 20th century); and a novel set in 1930’s Leningrad Jūlija Jakovleva’s Mednieks tieši virsū skrien (in the original Russian, Вдруг охотник выбегает, and in the English translation, Tinker, Tailor).

Jūlija Dibovska, an editor with “Latvijas Mediji”, reviews Kinomāna slimības vēsture (Medical History of a Movie Addict) by Viktors Freibergs, an autobiographical account of a career of movie-making.

Contributing editor Anita Liepiņa shares an essay on the life of French existentialist Albert Camus.


I N   M E M O R I A M

Nora Ikstena and Juris Kronbergs pay warm homage to poet Leons Briedis (1949-2020). Maija Meirāne summarizes the literary testament of writer Benita Veisberga (1928-2019), and Linda Treija remembers artist Daina Dagnija (1937-2019).

B R I E F L Y   N O T E D

Members of our editorial team report on recently published books, art exhibits, music performances and other news of cultural significance.


Jaunā Gaita