Jaunā Gaita nr. 78, 1970

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JG 78

Velta Toma, author of seven collections of verse and a recent traveler to Latvia, has started a controversy among the literary and political figures of Latvian emigrés. Her long awaited interview in this issue dwells deeply into the question of national integrity and the future goals of the Latvians as a nation, and points out the necessity of understanding manifestations of Latvian culture in the East and in the West: while Latvian poets have recently scored an international success in Moscow, a few extreme „right-winglets" in the West have deplored Velta Toma's visit to her homeland. The interview reveals interesting possibilities of literary exchanges by Latvian writers at home and abroad.

Another noteworthy interview depicts the world-views of a 24-year old U.S. expatriate of Latvian parents. His apolitical, sceptical outlook on life and his attacks against the Establishment portray an honesty to principles and a wish to find one's place on earth. Although a deserter from the U.S. Army, living in Stockholm, he, nevertheless, criticizes Sweden most severely. His comments about his Latvian parents are especially significant. Gesta (Gus) Ābols, the 1969/70 President of the Students Administrative Council of the University of Toronto, supposedly representing the „silent majority", according to Anita Liepina, was able to restrain the „radical leftists" and bring about some reforms in the student government.

Uldis Gērmanis continues his well-documented research of the role played by Latvians in the Russian Revolution and the subsequent Civil War. In this installment he examines the accounts of Latvian historians as well as those of emigré Russian, German and Western historians. Ģērmanis explains the obstacles that have so far prevented an objective evaluation of the non-Russian contribution to the history of the USSR.

Kārlis Ābele, Jr. in an article „Latvian Emigré Cultural Life in 1969" has compiled an array of activities in Latvian colonies in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Ints Liepa in his short story about the „Stupido" tells of a young boy's escapade in a Lincoln and the surprising finding of a little child.

In her short story "The Heads" Margita Gūtmane paints a surrealistic dream-sequence of three photographed heads which she later takes for a walk...

Eduards Freimanis presents two excerpts from his novel The Two Worlds. The first one deals with a prison episode : a prison guard leaves the dent of his fist in the prisoner's face. In the second part the writer dispels any rules of logic and sequence: the unceasing tempo of literary fervor extends until one's death or perhaps even longer.

Tālivaldis Ķiķauka in his „Anti-literary" rendering entitled „The Knot" whips up a typical self-perpetuating scheme of words and „antiwords" and in the form of a dialogue actually expounds his own views on literature, thus counterattacking some of his literary opponents: "There, on a blue cloud, lies the dream about the literature" he notes and then turns to the reader himself, the consumer of „literary goodies" and calling Robbe-Grillet and Moravia to his side he reduces the entire scene to absurdity.

Juris Kronbergs in his long poem "The Awakening" quotes the U.S. pop group Chicago: „Does anybody know what time it is? Does anybody really care?" The awakening is bitter, for it comes too late: an artificial bird flies around the room and explodes; a vicious cold wave breaks out; melting snow turns into snakes which begin to drink human blood.

"The Metamorphosis" By Valda Dreimane is about us - then, now, and later: „Not all of us will die, but we all will be transformed." Is our world fleeting away? It is a song about us, then and now.

Olafs Stumbrs, the poet who spent three months in Latvia in 1968, in his lyrical and impressionistic verse fuses microcosm with realities of time. In his „Ballad on the Reality of Life", from his forthcoming book of poems The Hour of the Squirrel, one feels the mild despair of poetic recall that evokes distant sounds of the homeland.

Imants Sakss looks at the varied choir programmes of the three Latvian Song Festivals planned for this year in Los Angeles, in Toronto, and in Riga. Our reviewer happily concludes that the common denominator in all three Festivals will be the Latvian Līgo!

Aina Siksna comments „Once More about Enquist's Book", the Swedish novel Legionarerna depicting the fate of Latvian Legionaires interned in Sweden and retumed to their homeland after VWV II against their will.

Hamilkars Lejiņš looks at two books: The Menuet of Shadows by Gunars Janovskis and The Sun Reflected by Regina Ezera. Both depict materialistic tendencies of people in the West and in the East, and the problems of assimilation of Latvians living as a minority throughout the world.

Juris Silenieks presents his views on three authors: Rita Luginska, Skaidrīte Kaldupe and Jānis Sudrabiņš, while Juris Kronbergs takes a peek at two young Swedish Latvian poets: The Brothers Graši. Are we rational? Or have we reached the limits of complete absurdity? Our reviewer tries to answer.

Rolfs Ekmanis reviews Latvia: Country and People (edited by Jānis Rutkis).

The frontispiece is by the Rudolfs Kronbergs, who recently had one-man shows in London and Stockholm. Cover design by Laimonis Mieriņš.

Jaunā Gaita