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Karogs in May/June

  Texts. Another double issue of 2010 brings an interview, Towards the Pure Consciousness. Part I with poet and translator Pēteris Draguns (1976), he is being questioned about himself, poetry and its deepest meaning. Draguns is also responsible for rendering two of the vagabond poems from the medieval collection Carmina Burana into Latvian. The young prose writer Dace Šteinberga (1979) presents a piece from her short novel Apparatus. A bilingual poetry collection of Russian poets living and working in Latvia is soon going to be published; the insight into it is available here – poems by Alexey Ivlev (1959-2006), Sergei Moreino (1964) and Sergei Timofeyev (1970) are selected and translated by Maira Asare. Another prose writer Ineta Meimane (1966) plunges into the recent Soviet past of Latvia – Every Happy is a rather clumsy name for a boat used on the hopeful escape route to Sweden. Poet and translator Uldis Bērziņš (1944) has been working on the Spanish medieval epic poem Cantar de Mio Cid (The Song of My Cid) for some time; he tells about the translation and presents a selection of the great epic in Latvian.

  Essays. Literary historian Ilgonis Bērsons (1931) shares his recent findings; in his essay “No Writer Can Live Unheard”, Bērsons reveals some fresh biographical evidence  concerning  Zenta  Mauriņa:  some  correspondence  of  hers  has  been unexpectedly found telling things that may make Mauriņa’s autobiographical stories look more like fiction than documentals. Poet and researcher Māris Salējs (1971) has investigated the historical background of Uldis Bērziņš’ first collection of poetry Monument to a Goat that was written on the verge of the seventies, still published only in 1980. Gundega Repše’s (1960) newest collection of stories On Disciples met its readers last year; and two materials meet in this issue – the author’s presentation and a critical review on the book by Anita Rožkalne (1956). Prose writer Inga Žolude (1984) in her essay Latvian alter ego: Confessional Poetry seeks for the traces of American “confessional poets” in the recent poetry here, at home. Reviews are available on the second novel Insomnia by Ilze Jansone, the novel Time of Odes – a unique co-work by three authors, Vladis Spāre, Lienīte Medne-Spāre and Juris Zvirgzdiņš; and the collection The Un-Censored compiled by Eižens Valpēters and dedicated to the trends of alternative culture during the sixties of the last century in Soviet Latvia. Also, Karogs brings an interview Writer on Thin Ice with Per Olov Enquist (1934) who has been ranked as one of Sweden’s internationally best known prose writers of today.

  Further information concerns literary activities in Latvia, at neighbours and around the world, there have also been books released this spring.

  Information prepared by the magazine’s editorial staff

Karogs in March/April

Two more double literary monthlies are oncoming for sure this year in Latvia, including this one. In March/April issue, Karogs interviews prose writer and poetess Maira Asare (1960) – she has somehow managed to be very prolific lately – and publishes some stories to be included in her oncoming collection of documentary prose Stockcar Stories. In spite of the economic crisis, the Latvian literature seems to thrive: the current issue witnesses four novels in progress; we publish excerpts from Jānis Lejiņš (1954) current work: his idea is a historical novel based on the events in and around a typical manor here, in Latvia, and taking place during several centuries. Kristīne Ulberga (1979) in her Choose What You Are dives into femininity; this is an emotionally candid and deeply psychological insight into the world of an explicitly peculiar and maybe even eccentric woman’s experience.  Māris Bērziņš (1962) works on what he calls a melodrama – a collection of stories where light irony and bright smile is the basis to treat the agelong  relations to be inevitably established between a man and a woman. The biographical novel by Valdis Rūmnieks (1951) and Andrejs Migla (1940) is soon to be published; it is devoted to the much praised and controversial Latvian poet Aleksandrs Čaks who was involved in the twists and turns of everything Latvia was involved in the 20th century.

Poetry is represented by Pēteris Draguns’ (1967),  Andris Ogriņš’  (1975) and Andis Surgunts’ (1984) latest works.

Karogs publishes reviews on the latest books: Guntis Berelis (1961) has weighed up the third book, The Mocked Soldier, of the trilogy On the Other Side of the Gates by Aivars Kļavis; Rimands Ceplis (1977) has something to say about the novel Time of Midges written by three authors – Lienīte Medne-Spāre, Juris Zvirgzdiņš and Vladis Spāre; and Kārlis Vērdiņš (1979) reviews Maira Asare’s latest poetry collection To Tūja.

Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) in his essay A Corpse and His/Her Judgment in the Latvian Social Life and Mass Media, carries on the subject he treated in the previous issue: there are some revelations on the penalties inflicted on the already dead bodies and some witnesses – Andrejs Upīts is mentioned among them.

Literary historian Mārtiņš Lasmanis (1930) concludes his story on the best literary monthly as it is known in the Latvian literary history: the monthly is Daugava, and the study is called “Daugava” Over the Years1934-1940. Two essays are devoted to the modernism burgeoning in Latvian literature: Valdis Ķikāns (1929) anatomises Vilis Plūdonis’ works, treating them as the earliest incoming flow of modernism into Latvian literature, and Jūlija Dibovska (1988) in her Andrejs Upīts as a Coroner, seeks for some proof to the writer’s affection to the naturalism of Émile Zola (1840-1902).

  Literary historian Viesturs Avots presents a material to be included in his book German times in Latvia: there are some statistical data from the Latvian libraries during the Nazi occupation (1941-1945), Lāsma Ģibiete (1981) has kindly provided an overview of the Latvian literature currently available in Hungarian.

  Survey provides concise information on the literary activities in Latvia, at neighbours and around the world.

  Information prepared by the magazine’s editorial staff

Published the First Issue of Literary Monthly “Karogs” in 2010

This issue, as far as we know at the moment, might as well conclude the monthly’s long history (Karogs was founded in 1940). Its introductory part is comprised of three publications more or less concerning Karogs’ history and future. We publish Arvis Kolmanis’ (1959) interview with Edgars Vērpe, Director of the State Culture Capital Foundation Latvia. Aivars Eipurs (1956) contributes a two-act sketch Karogs and Night, and Pauls Bankovskis (1973) in his essay The Literal Demand ponders on the fate of literary periodicals in the world of today at large.

  Texts present several short stories topical to the year of 2009 in Latvia, all of them enjoyed the public at the annual festival Prose Readings in December: Inga Žolude’s (1984) Thumbelina, Juris Zvirgzdiņš’ (1941) The Hare’s Tale, and Māris Bērziņš’ (1962) A Self-Employed Person. Estonian poetess Livia Viitol has been brought into the space of Latvian literature – her poems are rendered into Latvian by Guntars Godiņš (1958). Two more stories – The Isolated Backyard, and The Latvian Champion Team – are presented accordingly by Pauls Bankovskis and Gundars Ignats (1981).

  Essays are introduced by a chapter from Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga’s (1937) upcoming collection of essays Culture and Latvianness. Sergey Moreino (1964), a Russian poet and translator living and working in Latvia, has devoted an essay called The Phrase and Balance or The Newly Charted Paradise to the controversial and brilliant Latvian poet Aleksandrs Čaks; the translation is made by Maira Asare (1960). Dārta Dzenīte (1992) comes from the youngest generation of those interested in the history of Latvian literature, and she has made a research into the biography of Rūdolfs Blaumanis: in her paper How Rūdolfs Blaumanis Looked For a Bride or Cēsis’ Women in Blaumanis’ Life Dārta Dzenīte particularizes Blaumanis’ liaisons with several mademoiselles from Cēsis region at the end of the 19th century. The literary historian Liene Lauska (1973) in her study The Song of Praise to the Soviet Regime by Jānis Jaunsudrabiņš uproots the reasons for two almost identical publications by the poet: the first one seems to sing the praises to independent Latvia while the other one is an apparent eulogy to the Soviet system. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) in his essay On the Russian Laws, Slātava People and Places of Burial analyzes some episodes from the very first and supposedly well-know Latvian novel The Times of the Land Surveyors by Kaudzītes Bros in the light of the legislation that was in full force and effect in tsarist Russia during the second part of the 19th century. A striking CV is provided by the devoted annalist of the literary life during Soviet Latvia Ilgonis Bērsons (1931): in his study Voldemārs Kalpiņš: a Chronicle of Protest and Servitude Bērsons follows the biography of the ex-minister of Latvian culture (1916-1995) having worked under the Soviet regime and having lived to witness the return of independent Latvia. The question still is: who was this man – a docile servant, collaborator or a sharp-witted rebel?

  Survey provides concise information on the literary activities in Latvia, at neighbours and around the world.

Information prepared by the magazine’s editorial staff

Karogs in December

The lead essay is by Ieva Kolmane (1965) Karogs along with all the other national cultural periodicals seems to be in serious danger due to the economic crisis here, in Latvia, and it is worth to ponder on the situation.Texts begin with Aivars Neibarts’ alias Ņurbulis’ (1939-2001) previously unpublished poems – the extraordinary talented poet and battle-hardened non-conformist would have been 70 this month. Arvis Kolmanis (1959) interrogates Lewan Beridse (1963), a Georgian writing his prose in German; Valdis Bisenieks (1928) has rendered Beridse’s short story A Hero of the Day into Latvian. Kārlis Vērdiņš (1979), barely 30 year old, still an already experienced prize winner, boasts his latest work in poetry (Bon Appetit!), while his senior colleague, poet Leons Briedis (1949) marks his 60th birthday this month: Karogs publishes Briedis’ sequence The Twilight Handwriting and one more by another poet whose anniversary is celebrated this year, the Rumanian Leo Butnaru (1949) living in Moldova and translated by Leons Briedis. Pēteris Pūrītis (1970) brings an excerpt from his novel in progress, named Dr. Eadful’s Clinic; Liepāja’s colourful poetry school is represented by Sandra Vensko’s (1958) work MOONGARDEN – A Foxy’s Tale, and we present a sequence of poems by Artūrs Lūsis (1989), the voice coming from a younger generation. Ieva Plūme (1973) has contributed two short stories: Buddhism+ and In Search of Murphy; both of them from a collection in progress, named Rhesus. More of poetry is brought by a promising debutante Justīne Janpaule (1989); and Texts are concluded by an excerpt from Andra Manfelde’s (1973) memoirs The Dugout Children.

Essays. Aina Štrāle (1954) who is the expert in the field of censorship, comes up with a detailed analysis titled The Censor’s Red Pencil and Visvaldis Lāms’ Novel “A Rough and Booming City” (1957): this is an object-lesson of the Soviet censorship’s methods and strategy. Literary historian Eva Eglāja-Kristsone (1977) concludes her research into the cultural links between the Latvian writers in Soviet Latvia and those in exile during  the decades labelled as “cold war time”. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) is still searching for the roots of the idea of national state here, in Latvia; now it is Latgale region in the beginning of the 20th century; his treatise on the notorious clashes between Lutherans and Catholics is titled as Latgale’s Incorporation in Latvia: the Spiritual and Secular Dimensions. A series of reviews offers some seminal views on Nora Ikstena’s latest novel Amour fou; the recent Latvian translation of the striking Estonian novel Threshing Barn Stoker or November by Andrus Kivirähk; the collection of Jānis Einfelds’ frightful fairy-tales Liars’ Feast; Ieva Plūme’s teenagers’ prose book Butterflies’ World; Maira Asare’s latest novel Women’s Zone; Arvis Viguls’ prize winning debut poetry collection The Room; and freshly published collections by two more debutants: Jānis Hvoinskis (the rain pouring down on the e-channel), and Laila Ikase (Stars and Tiny Dragonflies). The Hamsun’s series this year is concluded by Ingrīda Kupšāne’s (1971) paper on the striking parallelism in the works by Knut Hamsun and the Latvian writer Gunars Janovskis.

In Survey section, we are happy to publish an interview with Valentīna Skujiņa who chairs the Terminology Committee at the Latvian Academy of Science (LAS). The committee was founded in 1919, before the foundation of the LAS itself, and back then it was housed by the Ministry of Education. The mission is still the same: to look after the Latvian language. Dr. Skujiņa tells about the daily routine of the committee and points to the changes the membership in the EU has brought into it.

Further information concerns literary activities in Latvia, at neighbours and around the world, there have also been books released in this autumn.

Information prepared by the magazine’s editorial staff

Karogs in November

Almost all the issue is devoted to the most vivid Belgian French prose, namely, to the best of their recent novelette or short story, call it as you like. We present a striking anthology of Belgian short story, there are twelve authors, each boasting his/her own distinctive handwriting and style, and representing a distinctive world to live in.

The lead essay Novelette – Ever More Liberalized, is by Michel Lambert (1947), and the topic is hot: is the short story really doomed to failure nowadays? He treats the short story as a genre to be livened up and revived. Thanks for some considerations on the terminology here!

The whole stuff has been compiled and translated into Latvian by Inese Pētersone (1952). She is the one who has provided the anthology with a foreword.

Authors here have been arranged in alphabetical order: there is André-Marcel Adamek (1946), with The Blew Wine Fairy-Tales, where phantasy mixes with reality; in The Ark, we see Noah in nowadays Belgium; and Adamek lets us meet Oriana, reminding of the Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s. Jean-Baptiste Baronian (1942) presents his short stories Roulette and People on the Bus: everyday occurrences, everyday people and their aggression being suppressed under the thin upper layer there. Jacque De Decker’s (1945) stories Age’s Child and The Letter to Lisa, are coloured with bitter irony. Vincent Engel (1963) in his Lost Letter and The Travel to Knokke-le-Zoute reveals himself as a deeply emotional, lyric artist. One may long to meet the boys like that one pictured in the The Travel to Knokke-le-Zoute, that is all we can say.

Thomas Gunzig (1970) presents his stories form the collection The Tiniest of the Zoos. His Giraffe and Cow read as paradoxical analogies tainted with black humour, still the mysterious communication with animals seems a pervading idea here.

Caroline Lamarche (1955) in A Man With a Rooster highlights the woman in her search for the self, and I Am a Centenarian is a somewhat nostalgic story of an artificial bird whose song sounds more natural than that of any natural bird itself. Michel Lambert himself has contributed two stories: The 3rd Step anatomizes the grown-up son’s relationship with his mother, and his Gods Are Laughing is equally self-reflective. Violence, politics, recent history and erotic crisscross the stories Princess Marie-Martha and Macha by Christian Libens (1954), while Amélie Nothomb (1967) in her Utterly Mystical smartly and ironically treats ever so amazing relations between both the human sexes. Jean-Luc Outers (1949) has come to know Latvia via the Liiv culture that is tagged on our map. His deeply emotional Disappearance of the Liiv Language is almost an essay on language per se, and the same can be said of his Short Memory where Writer per se is in the spotlight. Symptomatically that Author, specifically the Belgian writer Jacques Izoard, is also commemorated in the concluding piece The Black Jacket by Françoise Wuilmart (1942).

Maija Burima (1971) in the “Knut Hamsun” series acquaints the reader with the history of Hamsun’s Latvian translations outside Latvia after the WWII. Survey brings a survey on current situation in the libraries of our crisis ridden country. Several regional librarians kindly share their observations, concerns and conclusions.

As usual, literary events in Estonia, Lithuania and worldwide, and information on the latest books published.

Information prepared by the magazine’s editorial staff

Karogs in October

The lead essay, Experts and Pigsticking by Arvis Kolmanis (1959) is devoted to the system of ‘rotating experts’ responsible for the distribution of finances allotted to culture projects.

Texts begin with yet more poetry by quite Baudelairian Arvis Viguls (1987) who has just received the Poetry Prize 2009 for his debut book The Room. Guntis Berelis (1961) meets and questions the Polish writer Waldemar Borzestowski (1964), and we are happy to publish two of Borzestowski’s very savoury stories: A Girl and a Frenchman and Ghost translated by Māris Salējs. Some strong younger generation poetry is provided by Toms Treibergs (1985) to be compared with the established and good example set by Imants Auziņš (1937). Prose writer Aivars Tarvids (1957) has returned to the scene after quite a time, Karogs publishes his Fairy-Tale on the Free Wind and the Little Fallen Angel.

Poetry Days 2009 have brought an amazing bunch of foreign poets to Latvia. Glance is cast on their contribution: we listen to Andra Teede (1988, Estonia); Bernardine Evaristo (UK /Nigeria); Gintaras Grajauskas (1966, Lithuania); Jamshed Masroor (1946, Pakistan/Norway); Francette Orsoni (France/Corsica); Sulaiman Masomi (1979) – a socio-politically active hip hopper and beat boxer born in Kabul and living in Germany; Alen Meskovic (1977) born in Bosnia, living in Denmark and for some time now writing in Danish; two Finns: Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen (1977) and Ville  Hytonen (1982);  and  an  Egyptian – Emad  Fouad (1974)  living  in  Belgium and still writing fascinating poems in Arabic. Thanks to the translators: Guntars Godiņš, Jānis Elsbergs, Gita Grīnberga, Līga Raituma, Inga Mežaraupe, and Knuts Skujenieks.

In Essays, Guntis Berelis questions Edmunds Vanags (Forum of Ideas, Ltd.) who currently is taking care of a digitalized Latvian literary library to be made available for readers. The prose writer Egīls Venters’ (1964) creation is an internet chat room, and he presents the result under the title A Fascinating Discussion on Masculature. The chronicle of both the formal and informal literary events of the year 1959 in Latvia called About, Nearly, Secretly, and Against and registered by the eye-witness Ilgonis Bērsons (1931) is concluded. Writer and doctor Jānis Liepiņš (1930) recalls philosopher Milda Palēviča (1889-1972) in his essay Lady with the Lilies of the Valley. A review is devoted to the 2nd collection of essays Silhouettes of Courland Writers, and Jānis Kalnačs (1956) contributes to the Hamsunian research here, in Latvia: he presents a study on the design of Hamsun’s published translations.

Survey brings an interview with prof., Dr. habil. phil. Ina Druviete. The key question here is the Latvian tongue and its status as a state language. Prof. Druviete is convinced that Latvians should be less bothered with the purity of their mother tongue and more with the fact that Latvians avoid speaking Latvian when meeting foreign language speakers. Still, the State Language Law should be observed, and Russian should not be considered something more than a minority language here, in Latvia. September has brought Poetry Days to Riga and regions, we inform on other literary events at home, at neighbours and the world at large. As usual, Karogs presents the list of the latest books published.

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Karogs in September

The lead essay, Dear Reader by Ieva Kolmane (1965) is devoted to the modern tendencies in reading habits: is reading enjoyment or rather quite a job?Texts bring the freshest poetry by Māris Salējs (1971). Translator Maima Grīnberga has introduced Jaak Jõerüüt’s (1947) writings into Latvia; he is not only Estonian poet and prose writer but also, happily, the current Estonian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Latvia. Karogs publishes Jõerüüt’s subtle, “atmospheric” poetry and two stories, First News of Death, and The News of Death. A sequence of poems is kindly contributed by Eduards Aivars (1956), and the story The Living Corpse by the Nobel laureate in literature, Bosnian writer Ivo Andric (1892-1975) is included translated by Vinifreds Kraučis (1939-2005) – in September the extraordinarily gifted translator would have been 70, and he is remembered in an essay by Sandra Vensko (1958). Texts are concluded by Guntis Berelis’ (1961) sequel to his travel notes from Sicily.

Do writers care about the looks of their books? How many of them are eager to take part in the design process? Is a book only “the text” or is it rather an artwork created by visual artists and designers? What can be said of the Latvian book design today? The relations between writer and “the outfit” of his or her work are explored in the Glance section. The matter is discussed by prose writer and criticist Guntis Berelis, writers Pauls Bankovskis (1973), Zigmunds Skujiņš (1926), Laima Muktupāvela (1962), Juris Zvirgzdiņš (1941), and Māris Bērziņš (1962), and criticist Sandra Ratniece (1970).

In Essays, literary historian Eva Eglāja-Kristsone (1977) continues her story on the sophisticated contacts between the writers in Soviet Latvia and those in exile. In another series, the chronicle called About, Nearly, Secretly, and Against, Ilgonis Bērsons (1931), goes on recalling both the formal and informal literary events of the year 1959. But historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) in his Sectarians of the 19th Century Religion of Progress in Latvia, continues to revise the origins of Latvian national awareness; this time he sees Marxism sprouting from the Christian ideology practised in the territory of future Latvia on the verge of the 20th century. Ojārs Zanders (1931) is a well-known expert in the history of literature and book publishing; his contribution is the story about a brochure Il Popolo Lettone e la Lettonia published in Rome, 1921 and its author Teodors Zeiferts. A review is devoted to Dace Rukšāne’s latest collection of stories Birds of Ķīpsala. In August 4, Knut Hamsun’s birthday was celebrated in Hamarøy, Norway. A 18 year old Latvian – Justīne Kļava has won the first prize in Hamsun’s Literary Contest; Karogs is happy to publish a fragment of the winning story, Loafers.

Survey brings an interview with poetess and the leader of Talsi regional literary society Maija Laukmane – “I just can’t do anything slowly”, she admits. Talsi is the town resounding with poetry; and among the topics treated in the interview, the stereotypes about regional literary life as inferior to that in Riga are being revised. It is September, and Latvia is celebrating the annual Poetry Days; we inform on other literary events at home, at neighbours and the world at large. As usual, Karogs presents the list of the latest books published.

Information prepared by the magazine’s editorial staff

August Issue of Literary Monthly “Karogs”

In the lead essay Guntis Berelis (1961) discusses professionalism in writing and its prerequisites.

Texts are introduced by Inga Gaile’s (1976) freshest poetry. The story A Little Shy Proposal: Selection by Inga Žolude (1984) is a mini anti-utopia about Latvia in near future; and the current social policy in Latvia springs to mind once more due to Osvalds Zebris’ (1975) allegorical piece of prose The Most Beautiful One. August has brought sequences of poems by Elīna Bākule (1981), Anita Mileika (1987) and Andris Ogriņš (1975); we also publish Roalds Dobrovenskis’ (1936) dicta called “aphxioms” by himself and rendered from Russian into Latvian by Velta Kaltiņa. In conclusion – Guntis Berelis’ travel notes from Sicily are being continued.

Essays. Literary critic Rimands Ceplis (1977) in his Bad Life, Rewritten Clichés and Never-fading Hope has summed up the contribution to Latvian prose in 2008. Poet Imants Auziņš (1937) in his essay The Unforgettable One registers the imprints Ojārs Vācietis (1933-1983) has evoked in his mind during the past 25 years. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) is still digging up the roots of Latvian national identity (Latvians in 1879 Between Golden Age and Land Surveying). Literary historian Ilgonis Bērsons (1931) continues his chronicle About, Nearly, Secretly, and Against: the year of 1959 in the Writers’ Union of Latvia SSR and behind the scenes. Two reviews are devoted to Runes, the last book of Jānis Lejiņš’ impressive trilogy Seal in Red Wax, Austra Gaigala (1979) rates the children books nominated for the annual Jānis Baltvilks’ Prize. Two self-help books for writers have been published recently (Lauris Gundars’ Dramatics or Rational Poetics for playwrights and the Latvian translation of James N. Frey’s How to Write Damn Good Fiction), poet and researcher Kārlis Vērdiņš (1979) shares his opinion on both of them. Maija Burima (1971) continues the series Hamsun 2009: August is the month of Knut Hamsun’s birthday, and Burima celebrates it by her exhaustive comparativistic essay The Text by Hamsun in Latvian Literature.

Survey informs on the urgent plans of Ministry of Culture concerning reorganization of the Literature, Theatre and Music Museum. A colourful program of events has accompanied the awarding of Jānis Baltvilks’ Prize, the interest in Latvian literature has increased in Hungary, a conference on Latvian culture and Herrnhuters has taken place. The latest local literary news is followed by those at neighbours and the world at large, we also inform on the latest books published.

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Karogs in July

In the lead essay Captured by Drivel, Inta Kārkliņa (1950) looks back at the economical, political and cultural changes the month of June has just brought forth. Her question is: why had so much energy been spent on nothing more than fine words?

  Texts are introduced by Liāna Langa’s (1960) sequence of poems And What Should Be Our Valediction to Daddy the Log? Zelma Kuprijanova (1978) contributes a strikingly realistic story Formula; the sequence Another Year Swum in Vain by the local Russian poet Semion Hanin (1970) is rendered into Latvian by Pēteris Draguns and Kārlis Vērdiņš. The novelette Harp comes from Liepāja town (Edvīns Tauriņš, 1937); but Pēters Brūveris (1957) brings fresh poetic texts from the forthcoming 4th book of his tetralogy Linguistic Landscape. Guntis Berelis (1961) has recently visited the island of Sicily: readers are likewise invited to take a look at his travel notes King Friedrich II and Vulcanos.

  Essays. The prominent writer Zigmunds Skujiņš (1926) devotes an essay (Almost on EverythingThat Is Going On) to a book on Albert Einstein and to the mysteries of our Universe. Literary historian Ilgonis Bērsons (1931) continues his chronicle About, Nearly, Secretly, and Against; now this is the year 1959 of the literary life in Soviet Latvia. Eva Eglāja-Kristsone’s (1977) study Meeting at the Rip in Iron Curtain is continued. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) in his essay On the Place Allotted to Buši Bros in the History of Latvian Literature tells about the brothers Buši: publishers and prolific writers neglected in all the subsequent literary histories. The latest books reviewed: Edvīns Raups’ Putn and Nora Ikstena’s novel Amour Fou or Wrong Love in 69 Verses. Maija Burima (1971) in her series Hamsun 2009 tells on the representations of Knut Hamsun’s personality in Latvian visual arts.

  Survey brings an interview with Inta Čaklā, an experienced editor and highly respected critic in the field of poetry. Čaklā finds the previous year  fine both in terms of titles and excellence. Quite another thing is literary criticism: where are the reviewers; where can one read a  more profound study?

  More information on the news in Latvian literary life: As usual, news about the developments in literary life at neighbours and elsewhere in the world, as well as about the latest books published.

Information prepared by the magazine’s editorial staff

June Issue of Literary Monthly “Karogs”

In the lead essay On Royalties and Death, Arvis Kolmanis (1959) seems to have found some connection between poor royalties and suicides writers have committed.

Texts are introduced by Jānis Einfelds’ (1967) Līgo – summer solstice – mystery Trimpus. Ieva Saulīte (1963) is a Latvian living in Alaska, she teaches Latvian at the University of Alaska, works as marine biologist and writes: Saulīte’s story The Burden of the Beach is that of a dead killer whale – translated by Maira Asare. Jānis Rokpelnis (1945) comes up with his latest poems, and three short stories follow: Sāls. Соль. Salt. Sel. Salz. Sale. Sal. Tuz. Сіль by Guntis Berelis (1961), Garcia and Market Manager by Ēriks Kūlis (1941), and Women in the Sun by Laima Muktupāvela (1962).

Glance is cast at the local book publishing industry currently ridden by the economical crisis and heavily suffering from governmental cuts to literature and publishing programs. Five of the local publishers (Laima Slava, Neputns; Ingrida Vāverniece, Zinātne; Renāte Punka Jāņa Rozes apgāds; Jānis Oga, Mansards; Dace Sparāne, Dienas Grāmata) answer the question: how do you feel right now and what are you going to do to survive and/or – flourish? Karogs presents some of the material these publishers are still determined to release in a book in the near future. The bad news is that almost none of the five intends to publish a work written by Latvians – namely, translations prevail… Still, we will shortly have a prominent translation of Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching, Sonya Hartnett’s novel The Ghost’s Child, the poetry of three excellent Estonians – fs, Jaak Jõerüüt and Viivi Luik, and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, the first novel by British writer Susanna Clarke. An exception is the exhaustive study Rock and Cave Graffitis of the Older Times and Today by folklorist Sandis Laime (Zinātne Publishers).

Essays. Literary historian Aija Fedorova (1984) reports on the results of her recent field trip to Saransk and Penza (Russia) where the prominent Latvian poet Aleksandrs Čaks had lived and worked just after the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 (The Path of Communism and Čaks’ Leather Jacket). Eva Eglāja-Kristsone (1977) has studied another aspect of Latvian literary history: in her Meeting at the Rip in Iron Curtain she scrutinizes the ways Latvian writers in Latvia and abroad managed to communicate during the years of Cold War. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) contributes an essay Faith as Textual Propaganda in the Works by Kaudzītes Bros.: the topic is the antagonism between Lutheranism and Herrnhuters still deep-seated during the 19th century. Mārtiņš Lasmanis (1930) is literary scholar living in Sweden; his study “Daugava” Across the Years is devoted to the literary monthly Daugava that was central to literary life during the first Republic of Latvia, the literary criticism being highlighted by contributor there. Rimands Ceplis (1977) reviews the epistolary collection Gilded by the Lightning. Mirdza Bendrupe and Mirdza Ķempe Write to Vidvuds Eglītis, Anna Millere (1984) treats the collection of short stories Jacketless by Gundars Ignats. Maija Burima (1971) continues the series Hamsun 2009: some letters written to Hamsun by his most prolific Latvian translator Teodors Lejas-Krūmiņš have been found recently.

Survey brings an interview with Anna Mauliņa, Director of the Development Institute at the Latvian National Library. She says: “Currently, an interesting paradox manifests itself: while the crisis is deepening, there are more and more people eager to get into the libraries. Well, the entrance is still free there”.

More information on the news in Latvian literary life: the Centre for Children Literature has had the conference Across the Bridge; the National Research Program Letonika has inspired a conference Culture, Power and the Latest Latvian Literature housed by colleagues at Piebalga. As usual, news about the developments in literary life at neighbours and elsewhere in the world, as well as about the latest books published.


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Karogs in May

The lead essay is by Ieva Kolmane (1965), devoted to empty space and distance. These, while being a prerequisite for conversation seem to block any communication whatever is the case.

Texts come with the short story A Common Diagnosis by the prominent prose writer Ilze Indrāne (1927), and Kārlis Vērdiņš’ (1979) sequence of poems Safe, Sound and Sweet. Levan Beridze (1963) is a Georgian writing in German, his work has been highly appreciated by Peter Handke. Karogs presents Beridze’s story Concerto for the Left Hand translated by Valdis Bisenieks. Two young poets contribute their poems: Agnese Rutkēviča (1988) and Ulvis Zirnis (1986); and a story full of crustaceans The Compost Heap and Dustbin, is presented by Pauls Bankovskis (1973). A rare treat is provided by Francis Usāns (1938): he is almost the only one aphorist in contemporary Latvia.

Glance is cast at the peculiar society for literature and visual art Zaļā Vārna active back in the twenties and thirties of the last century and famous for its members: many of those are now considered integral to the cultural heritage of Latvia. ‘Zaļā vārna’ is the name of the bird classified as Coracias garrulus and considered to be the rarest and most beautiful one in Latvia. Literary historian Aija Fedorova (1984) informs on the foundation and activities of the society (“Bring Life to the Latvian Art, Bring Art to the Latvian Life!”) and devotes an essay to the journal Zaļā Vārna the society used to publish (Some Notes on the Journal for Literature and Visual Art Zaļā Vārna). In Ādamsons Between Refined Disorders and Freud, literary historian Lāsma Konošonoka (1985) examines the short stories by Eriks Ādamsons written during the years of his membership in Zaļā Vārna. Peculiarities of the society are highlighted by the letters exchanged by painters Hilda Vīka and Kārlis Baltgailis and also by the most striking publications from the pages of the journal Zaļā Vārna.

  Essays. Poet Kārlis Vērdiņš turns to literary theory and in his essay Against the Grain: the Marxist Literary Criticism treats a topic that seems rather unpopular and neglected today — the specific character of the Marxist literary criticism and the significant role the theory has had in the 20th century. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) examines the still obscure role Herrnhuters had played in the formation of Latvian national identity (How Latvians Learned to Feel Pain and Mastered Class Consciousness). Literary critic Anda Kubuliņa (1942) has invited some colleagues, as well as a politologist and a historian to a round table discussion “He Steps Beyond His Time For Ever”: the question under debate is Edvarts Virza’s journalism and essays compiled in the 2nd volume of his Collected Works. Among the latest books reviewed are: the documentary novel Observer by the prominent lawyer and writer Andris Grūtups, Silvija Freinberga’s monograph And There Are Our Bygone Faces Among the Brightest Stars…, and Rimants Ziedonis’ travel sketchbook Eastern Border. Essays conclude with Maija Burima’s (1971) 5th contribution to the “Knut Hamsun” series Teodors Lejas-Krūmiņš, Translator of Hamsun. Nothern Sketches.

  Survey brings an interview with Ginta Zalcmane, Manager of Business Information Department under the Latvian National Library. The most topical problem treated here is the significant social and cultural role libraries should play against the backdrop of crisis. The latest statistical data show increased attendance and the number of the books handed out, still the future of libraries in crisis-ridden Latvia looks grey. Ginta Zalcmane also informs on the project Lost Latvia where all the memories-related organizations are taking active part.

  The literary life at home has been in full swing lately: we salute the recipients of the Year 2008 Prize for Literature and the winners of the yearly book art competition Zelta ābele organized by Latvian Book Publishers’Association; librarians have met in the 13th conference The Library Across Frontiers: Towards A Global Understanding of the Latvian Librarians’ Society, etc. As usual, literary events in Estonia, Lithuania and worldwide, and information on the latest books.

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April Issue of Literary Monthly “Karogs”

In the lead essay, Springtime — Cherry Time Inta Kārkliņa (1950) bridges the gap between advertising and cultural life now and here.

Texts present Aivars Eipurs’ (1956) latest minimas — a supposedly novel genre of storiette. A debut in Karogs: Ilze Ķīķere (1973) with her poem sequence My Cousin With An Ash Marked Cheek. Osvalds Zebris (1975) has contributed his short story Incriminations, the local Russian poet Sergey Timofeyev (1970) has been appreciated for the umpteenth time by his Latvian translators Andris Akmentiņš, Ingmāra Balode, Pēteris Draguns and Jolanta Pētersone, and there is one more short story here: Bloody Dogs by Pēteris Pūrītis (1970).

Glance has been cast at the prose poetry. Poet Kārlis Vērdiņš (1979) presents his research of the genre. The essence of prose poetry is laid bare in his essay Neither Fish Nor Fowl, while in his paper Rebels and Stylists Vērdiņš specifically reports on the French and English prose poetry of the 19th century. Karogs is happy to publish two selections of the enigmatic kind: The Concise Anthology of Latvian Prose Poetry and the translations of French and English prose poetry from the 19th century.

Essays present fragments from the upcoming monography by literary historian Andris Sproģis (1940): it is the biography of prose writer and poetess Irma Grebzde that lived in Latvia as well as in exile. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) in his essay Land Surveying As It Were And In The Latvian Heaven  continues to ponder on the Latvian self-confidence and the rise of the nation. Among the latest books reviewied are Gundars Ignats’ short story collection Jacketless, and Inga Žolude’s novel Warm Earth. The series devoted to the 150th anniversary of Knut Hamsun is further replenished by Maija Burima (1971), she tells on the halo Hamsun has had  in Latvia.

  Survey brings an interview with poetess Anda Līce (1941). She disagrees with a popular belief that this is not the ripe time for poetry, on the contrary — she still works hard and, what is more, knows how to save money for a sought-after book.

  As usually, Karogs brings the survey on literary events in Latvia: Children Readers’ Festival, the newly opened National Playwrights’ theater, competitions and prizes. Estonia, Lithuania, and the wide world are included, as well as the presentation of the books released lately.

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Karogs in March

In the lead essay, The Literature on February 29 Guntis Berelis (1961) reflects on some peculiarities of the present crisis-ridden literature and culture.

Texts bring Inga Žolude’s (1984) story Tuck Me In and excerpts from contemporary Russian writer Sasha Sokolov’s (1943) sophisticated novel A School for Fools translated by Maira Asare and commented by Sergey Moreino (1964). Representative of the youngest generation of poets, Alise Zariņa (1987) makes her debut in Karogs. Yet another first time appearance is the upcoming Latvian version of Mary Shelley’s (1797-1851) Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus (transl. Māra Kaļva); we publish fragments and an afterword by Viktors Freibergs (1955). Fikret Demirağ (1940) is a Turkish poet living in Cyprus; his work is rendered into Latvian by Uldis Bērziņš. Noteworthy contribution is made by two local prose writers; we present Ieva Plūme’s (1973) short stories: That’s Not My NameGeneration Code, and Apocalypse. No, and Jānis Einfelds’ (1967) Three Moralities from the Unborn Collection “Seasons”.

Essays. Ilgonis Bērsons (1931) in his sequel About, Nearly, Secretly, and Against brings up further facts from the literary life in Soviet Latvia in the year of 1958. Literary historian Aija Fedorova (1984) contributes her essay Woman, Revolution, and Art where remarkable analogies and concurrences in the writings by Aleksandrs Čaks and Vladimir Mayakovsky are examined, while Valdis Ķikāns (1929) dissects Imants Ziedonis’ poetry searching for the traits of zoomorphism there. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1961) continues to investigate the formation of Latvian national identity; this time, in his essay, How the Catholics and Lutherans Fought For the Souls of Nonexistent Latvians Kluinis highlights the period of Reformation. Another essay, On the Bohemian Baldone and a Pergola by historian Aldis Upmalis (1964), is devoted to the thirties of the previous century when there was a summer boarding-house at Baldone highly popular among artists and writers. We also have latest books reviewed: the collection Stories: Prose Readings in Presence and Absence, and the anthology Современная русская поэзия Латвии / Contemporary Russian Poetry in Latvia. Yet another contribution to the series devoted to the 150th anniversary of the famous Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun is Maija Burima’s (1971) report on Hamsun’s short stories and sketches translated and published in Latvian.

Survey brings an interview with Dace Pugača, Deputy Director of the Latvian Publishers’ Association: a sore recent problem is the sharply increased VAT on books, still international book fairs have not become depopulated yet, and publishers look forward to the annual book art competition Zelta ābele (Golden Apple-Tree). We also inform on the revived tradition of Friendly Appeal when alumni are urged to donate books to their schools; on the school for creative writing at Talsi, and the anniversary of Herberts Dorbe museum.

As usually, the survey on literary events in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and world-wide is included, as well as the presentation of books released lately.

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“Karogs” in February

In the lead essay Jesus, Germany etc., Arvis Kolmanis (1959) travels to Berlin in order to see what is going on here, in Latvia.

Texts bring the poem Children’s Crusade by Serhiy Zhadan (1974), Jānis Elsbergs being responsible for its translation from Ukrainian. The latest poems by Ingmāra Balode (1981), Between the Airports are also included. We present a collection of short stories generated by the recent Prose Readings 2008: Call Me Little Moon by Andra Manfelde (1973); Bumblebees and Ants by Inga Ābele (1972); Breath by Māra Svīre (1936); Beasts by Pauls Bankovskis (1973), and Tourist Season by Guntis Berelis (1961). The youngest generation is represented by Kristīne Ulberga (1979) — she contributes a short story titled The Window.

Glance is devoted to the well-known prose writer Aivars Kļavis (1953). Currently, he is busy working on the novel The Violated Soldier — the final book of his historic trilogy Behind the Door. The fragment from the piece in progress casts a glance at the year of 1919 in Latvia, but his previously unpublished story Everything We Know About Her, though written back in the nineties, somehow seems explicitly topical today. Interviewed by Guntis Berelis, Aivars Kļavis reveals the story of his rather turbulent life (“…I would have been better off if I had become some doctor or engineer”).

In Essays, critic and prose writer Agnija Ieviņa (1983) reflects on the situation of some vacuum the literary criticism founds itself today (Beware — Toxic: What Annoys Me in Critical Reviews). Historian Arnis Kluinis (1961) continues his detailed studies on the birth of Latvian nation, and presents an essay The Advent of Mass Society from Underground where a breathtaking topic is treated: punishment implements and practices applied in Russia and Baltic during the 19th century. Literary historian Ilgonis Bērsons (1931) concludes his documentary study on the literary life of Soviet Latvia in a single year of 1958. Critic Austra Gaigala (1979) contributes her essay Life Is Suffering: In Quest For the Virtual Egg where the most recent literature for teenagers is reviewed. Among the latest books reviewed are also: the historic novel Peter’s Oath by Eva Mārtuža; Minimas: In One Room with Anton Webern by Aivars Eipurs; the poetry collection Bird’ by Edvīns Raups, and the collected works by Tālis Vaidars. This year series devoted to the 150th anniversary of Knut Hamsun is further developed by literary historian Maija Burima (1971) with her profound study Presence. Hamsun and Latvia.

Survey brings an interview with Ruta Cimdiņa, Director of Jānis Akuraters’ Museum. A zealot of not only the museum house, but also of its ex-owner and his literary heritage, Director shares her concerns on the prospects of literary museums today.

We also inform on literary events at home: the book-publishers’ audience with President of Latvia; the Olivereto Prize competition; the list of best-selling books in 2008, etc. In spite of the global economic crisis, notable  literary events have taken place in Estonia, Lithuania and in the world at large, as well.

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January Issue of Literary Magazine “Karogs”

The lead essay by Ieva Kolmane (1965) introduces Glance devoted to the project of Latvian Cultural Canon: why do we feel strangely attracted to such canons while being well aware they are mere conventions at best?

  Texts bring a sequence of poems, False Sonnets and Other B Sides by Arvis Viguls (1987). Ilmārs Šlāpins’ (1968) Tale on Genesis was a contribution to this year Prose Readings also represented by Dace Rukšāne’s (1969) three short stories: DuckParrot, and Hoopoe from her forthcoming prose collection Birds of Ķīpsala. We publish Anna Auziņa’s (1975) latest verses, and Dace Sparāne’s (1968) poem Stand Up. Texts close with fragments from Jānis Mauliņš’ (1933) autobiographical tetralogy Shock: the second book in progress (Individualist) is based on actual events in Stalinist Latvia, back in the fifties of the past century.

  Glance checks the interim results of the Latvian Cultural Canon Project: 30 most outstanding items have already been picked out by experts in 7 fields of culture, and 12 top works in each field are to be selected shortly. The chief expert in “canonical” literature, Guntis Berelis (1961) in his Canon and Criteria reports on the guideposts adopted. We publish the proposed top list of national treasures in Latvian literature, visual arts, dramatic art, architecture and design, traditional culture, cinema, and music. Literary historian Raimonds Briedis (1965) contributes an essay Canon as Symbol: he advises to treat the nominated literary works like symbols of deeper comprehension, experience, and tradition rather than isolated texts. In the interview Reminder of Values, Māra Lāce (1954), Director of National Art Museum and chief expert in visual arts, reveals the story of canonical list in visual arts; musicologist Orests Silabriedis (1971) shares his point of view, and sociologist Anda Laķe (1963) presents “an alternative canon” based on a student opinion survey.

  Essays. The interview Māris Salējs in the Galaxy of Uldis Bērziņš catches poet Māris Salējs (1971) red-handed: he is busy working at a monograph on Uldis Bērziņš’ poetics. A fragment is kindly supplemented. Literary historian Ilgonis Bērsons (1931) continues to peruse the records of literary life in Soviet Latvia during the year of 1958. Still deeper into history is rooted the essay “Reading” or “Slapdash”? by Pauls Daija (1984) who investigates the writer-reader relationship in Latvia on the brink of the 19th century.

  Karogs begins a series devoted to the 150th anniversary of Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun (1859-1952). The introductory address is kindly provided by H.E. Nils Olav Stava, Ambassador of Norway in Riga, Latvia.

  Survey brings an interview with Ināra Beļinkaja, Director of Jānis Roze Ltd. The outstanding Latvian book publisher Jānis Roze (1878-1942) had laid a solid foundation for the Jānis Roze company reborn in 1992. Director of the company that currently ranks among the most respectable Latvian publishing houses and bookstore chains, ponders on the prospects of book publishing and book-selling in the local market affected by the global crisis.

  We also inform on the Prose Readings 2008, Rūdolfs Blaumanis Literary Prize for school youngsters, and on literary events at home, in Estonia, Lithuania, and elsewhere in the world.

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Karogs in December

In the lead essay, Seeing, Hearing, Believing Inta Kārkliņa (1950) encourages to consider our ability/inability to believe in ourselves, our strength; to aim for a brighter outlook on life and wish not to measure even the smallest everyday mishap as a global catastrophy. Why do we so willingly prefer the color black and do not want or don’t know how to taint the days of our lives in brighter hues?

Texts are introduced by Māris Salējs (1971) new verses. Ieva Kolmane (1965) interviews lawyer and writer Andris Grūtups (1949). A fragment of his book in progress Observer follows, lining the court case against painter Jurģis Skulme.

In May 2008, Ventspils was the place of an international translators’ seminar South Meets North. Poetry by participants Simone Inguanez, Gökçenur Ç, Tal Nitzan and Samira Negrouche can be enjoyed in Latvian translation by Kārlis Vērdiņš (1979). Japanese poetess Mari Konno (1947) writes mainly in tanka form. Her work has been translated by Victor Kravchenko and Līga Buševica, with an introduction to the publication by Victor Kravchenko. Short stories by four Latvian authors included in this issue are: The Feeling of Cleanliness by Ineta Meimane (1966); Unexpected by Māris Bērziņš (1962); Unscheduled Corrections by Ēriks Lanss (1940); and Tear by Agnese Rutkeviča (1988) of the youngest generation.

Essays. Literary historian Gundega Grīnuma (1948), interviewed by Guntis Berelis (1961) Wherever I Go, I Meet Myths. About Rainis describes her just finished book Paradoxes of Remembrance. Memories of Rainis and Aspazija in Castagnola and her own road to literary research. Literary historian Ilgonis Bērsons (1931) in his chronicle About, Nearly, Secretly, and Against recalls the happenings that influenced literary life and its ambience in 1958. Literary critic Anita Rožkalne (1956) in Astrīde Ivaska. War and Love (a fragment from the book in progress) describes the poetess’ life between 1944–1949. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1961) in his article Mass Society Taking Shape within the Boundaries of One Bebri District finds amazing coincidences uniting the lives and fortunes of several families. Literary historian Māra Grudule (1963) presents a story on Liboriy Depkin who worked as linguist and poet back at the end of 17th and in the beginning of 18th century. A review of Astrīde Ivaska’s collected poems Poems and Translations; two reviews of Ronalds Briedis’ recent collection Karaoke.

In Survey we remember poet Ojārs Vācietis and look back at the events marking his 75th birthday which in November summoned many devotees in Riga and his native parts. The Ojārs Vācietis’ Prize was presented to Ronalds Briedis and we congratulate the recipient.

We focus also on other news in the literary life of Latvia, among them a Krišjānis Barons conference and an international conference Lāčplēsis on His Way to the World. The Latvian Epos and European Epic Traditions. As usual, we inform about literary actualities in Estonia, Lithuania, and the world, presenting also the latest books.

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November Issue of Literary Monthly „Karogs“

The lead essay is by Guntis Berelis (1961), he comments on the discussion about literary criticism published in October issue.

Texts bring Uldis Bērziņš’ (1944) latest poems. We publish a fragment from Jānis Lejiņš’ (1954) historical trilogy Seal in Red Wax book III Runes. Tadeusz Dombrowski (1979) is an outstanding contemporary Polish poet. The translator of his poems, Ingmāra Balode (1981) contributes an introduction. To the youngest generation belongs poet Liene Rūce (1989).

Glance is in charge of Jānis Zālītis (1951) and dedicated to the part pubs have played in Latvian literary history during the twentieth century’s first half. It is introduced by dedications to pubs by two romantically inclined poets — Jānis Medenis’ (1903–1961) Ancient Pubs and Jānis Grots’ (1901–1968) Why I Entered a Pub. A short characterization of pub sociability originates from Anšlavs Eglītis’ (1906–1993) novel Bride Hunters; Antons Austriņš’ (1884–1934) description of Old Riga Pubs; Jānis Grīnblats’ (1906–1975) In the Pubs of Riga; Jānis Akuraters’ (1876–1937) Hotel Suvorov — Stage of Literary History; Marģeris Zariņš’ (1910–1993) In Memoriam Hotel Suvorov; Jānis Akuraters’ Kazarov’s Wine Cellar; Pāvils Gruzna’s (1878–1950) In Kazarov’s Wine Cellar; Pēteris Ērmanis’ (1893–1969) Sukubs. These descriptions and memories are enriched by Jānis Zālītis’ glances into the history of Kazarov’s wine cellar, Shiron’s restautant and other pubs frequented by writers.

Essays. Zenta Romāne, daughter of the distinguished Latvian writer Aleksandrs Grīns reminisces about her father. The interviewer is Kaspars Kļaviņš and her revelations gain importance through the fact that Grīns’ entire archive was destroyed after his arrest by the secret police in 1941, leaving very few materials connected with him. Jānis Balodis (1950), Australian born Latvian dramatist writing in English talks about his relations with the Latvian language, but his translator Anita Apele (1935) relates about his life and writing. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1961) in his essay Latvians as an Example for Mass Uprisings looks for the source of Latvian national consciousness and the state itself rather far in history — in the 1841 Potato uprising of Bebri and the 1802 Kauguri rebellion. Recent books reviewed: Andra Manfelde’s latest poetry collection Concrete Sanctuaries, Ēriks Kūlis’ two story book, Aina Zemdega’s Writing, vol. I, Tālis Vaidars’ collected literary inheritance To Everyone His Own, and the translation of St. Augustine’s Confessions.

Survey brings an interview with translator Mudīte Treimane. She has been actively translating since 1980 and, thanks to her, we have access in Latvian to nearly half hundred Swedish literary works — mainly children’s literature (among them Astrid Lindgren’s and Tuve Jansson’s beloved novels and stories. Mudīte Treimane also translates from Danish (f.ex., H.C. Andersen’s fairy tales), Norwegian and English. She has also managed to translate various fragments from foreign writers, to write articles about foreign writers and literature for Latvian papers and journals. Since 1974, Mudīte Treimane works at the National Library as main librarian for the Department of Social and Humanitarian Sciences. But since 1992 she leads the translators section of the Writers’ Union.

We also inform about news in Latvian literary life and our state’s participation in the Gothenburg Book Fair, where Latvia was in focus this year. As usual, news about literary actualities in Estonia, Lithuania, and the world, as well as the latest book publications.

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Karogs in October

Arvis Kolmanis (1959) in the lead essay ponders on political correctness and literature.

Texts bring poems from the book in progress Verses by Jānis Elsbergs (1957), a short story Objects in an Interior by Gundars Ignats (1981) and a poem sequence by youngest generation writer Renāte Vilnīte (1988). Pēters Brūveris (1957) offers poems from a coming collection Poems, Translations and Fun. We also publish two short stories by young prose writer Osvalds Zebris (1975) Train till Christroads and Guilt, and a poem sequence Nongrass by Andris Ogriņš (1975).

Glance is devoted to present problems in criticism. Critic Arno Jundze (1965) in an article About Criticism in the Press, Academism, and the Odour of Cordiality accompanying these Proceedings questions the reality of the critic – is he a servant of writers or an independent creative personality? He arrives at the conclusion that critic is neither one nor the other because in Latvian literature at the present professional criticism simply does not exist. Dainis Leinerts (1985) in Evasive Criteria ascerts that criticism at present lacks a close relation to the text, substituting empty phrases. Publisher and critic Reinis Tukišs (1985) in his contribution Criticism in Latvia: Algorhythm, Engagement, Authorship points out the reasons why for him actual Latvian criticism lacks interest. Critic Anita Rožkalne (1956) in Reflections about Criticism, but not only that tries to connect the problems of criticism with the general situation in literature. The discussion in Internet Reading Room about criticism ends in zero, providing another proof about the dramatic situation of criticism. Critic Sandra Ratniece (1969), via factual analysis: publications of criticism in periodics during 2007, remarks that there is no scarcity of critical writings, yet they elicit no discussion at all.

In Essays poet Imants Auziņš (1937) contributes an essay …exiled hands in memory of poet Harijs Skuja, who spent years in Soviet prison camps. Māris Salējs (1971) explores the dimension of nature’s elements in Aina Zemdega’s novel Maruta. Historian Aldis Upmalis (1964) in Censorship that didn’t Exist relates about the workings of Soviet censorship, so called Glavlit. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1961) continues unraveling the idiosyncrasy of Latvian national consciousness – this time in Monument to Dullais [Crazy] Dauka paying special attention to this almost archetypal character in Latvian literature, created by writer Sudrabu Edžus. Literary historian Jānis Zālītis (1951) writes about a little known individual, Rainis Dambekalns, godson of the poet Rainis. Latest books reviewed are: the collection of stories Serious Intentions by Nils Sakss and Inga Žolude’s debut novel Warm Earth.

Survey brings an interview with Aija Dombrovska, teacher of Latvian language and literature at Riga’s Nordic Countries Gimnasium. She shares her reflections about the Latvian language and literature programs in the schools, the textbooks and the literary works and authors they present. The experienced teacher also expresses uneasiness about the situation of Latvian language in the state and does not hide the fact of the rapidly sinking knowledge level of the pupils.

We inform also about news in Latvian literary life, casting a glance back at our traditional Poetry Days in September, as well as events in Estonia, Lithuania, and the world.

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Karogs in September

In the lead essay, A Masterpiece of Your Own — Wwaow! , Ieva Kolmane (1965) reflects on the most technologically advanced possibilities for everyone eager to see his or her book published.

Texts bring fragments from Andris Kolbergs’ (1938) latest detective novel Red Car, Black Night and the conclusion to Guntis Berelis’ (1961) notes on travels in Sardinia .

Glance concentrates on the guests of this year’s Poetry Days. We publish Bastian Böttcher (1974, Germany ), Ban’ya Natsuishi (1955, Japan), fs (1971, Estonia ), Laurence Viella (1968, Belgium ), and Georgian poets Shota Iatashvili (1966) and David Chikhladze (1962). They were translated by Agnese Krivade, Leons Briedis, Guntars Godiņš, Gita Grīnberga, and Inga Gaile.

Essays . Deputy to the Latvian Parliament, Anta Rugāte (1949) in her essay Code: Terra Mariana brings to attention a unique album, devoted to the history of Latvia , Terra Mariana . It was formed by Latgalians and given as a gift to Pope Leo XIII in Rome .

Vidvuds Eglītis (1913­—2003), brother of the outstanding Latvian prose writer in exile Anšlavs Eglītis, survived in Soviet Latvia and maintained lively contacts with the creative elite of his time. Letters to Vidvuds Eglītis by two poets, Mirdza Bendrupe and Mirdza Ķempe follow.

Literary historian Aldis Upmalis (1964) concludes his essay Empress Catherine I or Remembering an Ancient Age and Unusual Tale . He concentrates this time especially on the Latvian relations to Catherine I.

Historian Arnis Kluinis (1961) continues his narrative on the genesis Latvia ‘s national consciousness. This time in German and Russian Examples in the Creation of Latvian Nationalism , the situation analyzed is indeed strange: on the one hand in the 19 th and at the beginning of the 20 th century, Latvians were threatened by Russification as well as Germanization, yet in creating Latvian nationalisms, they relied both on Russian and German experience.

Latest publications under review are: Kārlis Vērdiņš’ poetry collection Me and Alberts Caune’s epic poem On the Bank of West Courland .

Survey brings an interview with poet, essayist and publisher Inese Zandere.

We report on the Latvian literary life (including the annual Poetry Days in September or the summer camp organized for the winners of young readers’ competition) as well as events in Estonia , Lithuania , France , and the world.

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August Issue of Literary Monthly “Karogs”

In the lead essay, Between the Song Festival and Michaelmas Inta Kārkliņa (1950) muses how deeply a happening of this magnitude changes our everyday life. It has engaged the participation of thousands of people and attracted the attention of a crowd at least ten times larger. In one way we remain unchanged — we continue with our daily tasks, squabble as usual, we continue to “see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye”. But in another way all this loses importance, is less noticeable, less disturbing. The world seems brighter, ourselves better and more aware of our spiritual strength.

Texts brings prose and poetry: young writer Inga Žolude’s (1984) short story Swimmingpool ; poems by Ronalds Briedis (1980) and Aivars Eipurs (1956). A first publication in Karogs — Latvian writer Tālis Vaidars’ (1927—1972) hitherto unpublished fragments from his fantasy novel; the preface is by Anta Rugāte. Texts closes with travel notes from Sardinia by Guntis Berelis (1961).

Glance brings a series of articles about the participation of Baltic Germans in Latvian cultural life. Literary historian Aldis Upmalis (1964) writes about Empress Catherine I or Remembering an Ancient Age and Unusual Tale .He concentrates his attention on the controversial historical facts and even more controversial interpretation by historians of the origins of Catherine I, born Marta Skavronska and the part Ernsts Gliks, translator of the Bible into Latvian, played in her upbringing. Literary historian Pauls Daija (1984) in Johann Friedrich Rosenberger (1731—1776) in Latvian literature narrates the life of this 18 th century German author who wrote in Latvian. Daija also publishes with his own commentary a letter by Vecais Stenders (1714—1796) in which Stenders sets forth the principles guiding his literary work. Literary historian Zigrīda Frīde (1956) inPatriots of Courland from the Pantenius Family writes about the Pantenius family of Courland’s Germans from which have come also men of letters, publishers, and editors. Literary historian Jānis Zālītis (1951) in Johannes von Günther and Rainis: History of an Unpublished Translation informs about the growth of the translation of Rainis’ playIndulis and Ārija and why it was never published.

Essays. Reviews of new books: Gundega Repše’s novel Orphanage ; Inga Ābele’s novel Flood ; Jānis Rokpelnis’ novel Virtual Faust ; the poetic debut of Santa SkujiņaThe Sea Wakens with a Shout and literature researcher Dace Lūse’s Latvian Literature and the Political Collisions of the 20 th Century .

Survey brings an interview with Hungarian literary critic and director of Hungary ‘s ELTE University ‘s Literature Department, professor István Margócsy. This summer he is visiting Latvia , taking part in the festive opening of the bookFateless by Hungarian writer, Nobel laureate Imre Kertész (1929). He also lectured at the Philology Department of Latvian University:Contemporary Hungarian Literature in European Context. In his interview as well István Margócsy talks about contemporary literature, yet stresses most Hungarian writers of the 18 th and 19 th centuries and their works.

We also inform about literary news in the Baltic States and the world.

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July Issue of Literary Monthly “Karogs”

In the lead essay Cultural Canon, Guntis Berelis (1961) concludes that every canon is made just to be destroyed again.
  begins with Maira Asare’s (1960) latest poems. Ships with Torn Sails is a short story by young prose writer Māra Skredele (1988). Two of the youngest generation of poets, Katrīna Kuduma (1991) and Krišjānis Zeļģis (1985) contribute samples of their work, and fragments from his historical novel Arturs Heniņš (1932). The Devil’s Stone is Rolling is based on actual events about Latvians in Moscow during the thirties and forties of the past century. Two short stories by Kristīne Ulberga (1979), Hippopotamus and Cathedral and Osvalds Kravalis’ (1942) opus Enjoyments for Free close Texts.

Glance. Literary historian Jānis Zālītis (1951) in Reconstructor of Poetry with the Book in Rainis’ Memory describes events connected with a collection of writers’ autographs dedicated to Rainis. Literary historian Sarma Kļaviņa (1941) in her essay Along Nearly Lost Footprints scrutinizes the life of physician, linguist, writer   Juris Bārs (1808-1879), dedicating most attention to some still today unclear episodes of his biography as well as his assiduous attempts to create, for the first time, a spelling system appropriate to the sounds of the Latvian language. Literary historian Māra Grudule (1963) in her essay Juris Bārs in the Field of Latvian Literature analyzes the not numerous fables by Bārs and their connection to other literatures. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1961) continues his report about Latvian literature during WWI and the time of founding the Latvian state. In The Emergence of Nationalism from Lake Jugla or Herder in Riga he this time reaches farther into the past and meditates about the powers that have shaped the Latvian national consciousness beginning with the 18th century. Harijs Gailītis (1941), literature and theatre critic, in his memoir Boy on Dolphin recalls his father, sculptor Aleksandrs Gailītis who during Soviet times created several well known sculptures. Latest books reviewed: poet Jānis Rokpelnis’ novel Virtual Faust; prosaist Gundega Repše’s novel Orphanage; young poet Andris Ogriņš’ debut collection I Swear by Ravens; Kristīne Ulberga-Rubīne’s book for teenagers, I Don’t Read Books.

Survey brings an interview with the scholar Dace Lūse about her above mentioned work, recently published by Valters un Rapa. She tells about causes that have furthered the progress of the monography; about her experiences meeting with students on a daily basis at the University of Latvia and teaching them varied courses in Latvian literature. She also reveals why she feels especially close to Latvian literature in exile and to the local writers Alberts Bels and Gundega Repše.
We inform also about new literary happenings in Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, and world literature.

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Karogs in June

In the lead essay, Arvis Kolmanis (1959) contemplates faithfulness and children literature.Texts begin with a poem by Pēters Brūveris (1957) testament – a play. We offer our readers Inga Ābele’s (1972) latest short story Before All Worlds, dedicated to Dzintars Sodums.

Texts continue with poems by three youngest generation poets: Jānis Vādons (1983), Santa Skujiņa (1987), Arvis Viguls (1987) and three works by prose writer Ieva Plūme (1973) Viper+Liar and Transformers: Beginning of Poetics.

Our Glance turns this time to children literature. Literary critic Lita Silova (1968) in Reading with Assignments. Will This Suit School? muses about the special characteristics of recently published books for children. Literary historian Austra Gaigala (1979) highlights “the edibility” of literature as a recent development in everything written for children. On the other hand, prose writer and author loved by children Juris Zvirgzdiņš (1941) discusses his devotion with his alter ego, teddy-bear Thobias. Poetess Inese Zandere (1958) reports on the activities of big and small publishing house devoted to children books. We also bring fragments of prose and poetry from the publisher’s works in progress.

In Essays, literary historian Jānis Zālītis (1951) throws light on an ancient detective story that, besides, is historically absolutely accurate. One of the involved is Max Schönfeld, a well known Riga psychiatrist at the beginning of the 20th century. He was murdered by his patient Heinrich von Rautenfeld. After his death, Schönfeld and his murderer became protagonists in several literary and film works. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) in his essay Latvian Nation’s War Road to Europe continues reporting the impressions and reflexions of WWI in Latvian literature. Literary historian Ilgonis Bērsons (1931) in his essay Čaks, Everything and the Good Old Ones analyzes the seven volumes of Čaks’ Collected Works and stresses, especially, the achievement of Valdis Rūmnieks, compiler and commentator.

Book reviews: the novel Fiery Steers with Golden Horns by Guntis Berelis; debut short story collections Serious Intentions by Nils Sakss, and two translations into Latvian of novels by D.M. Thomas – The White Hotel and Eating Pavlova.

Survey. The year 1888 saw the first publication of Andrejs Pumpurs’ epos Lāčplēsis (Bearslayer). Its centenary was celebrated in 1988 all over Latvia. The main center of these celebrations was the rock opera Lāčplēsis by Māra Zālīte and Zigmars Liepiņš. The first-night show fell exactly on St. John’s Day, at Burtnieki. About the events of 20 years ago and the importance Burtnieki played in lighting the torch of freedom all over Latvia, in Survey writes Anita Jansone-Zirnīte (1945).

We also inform about actualities and news in literary life at home, at our neighbours’ and in the world at large.

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Karogs No.5 of 2008

In the lead essay, The Phantom Editor, Ieva Kolmane (1965) looks at the field of text, language, reflection in which the editor works, invisibly hoeing and weeding.

Texts bring new poems by Edvīns Raups (1962) At Point Zero; a short story, written three years ago in Visby by Nora Ikstena (1969), Besa (a Twentieth Century Love Story). A sequence of poems is offered by Uldis Bērziņš (1944).

Glance looks at relations of author and editor. Who is he really — castrator or co-author? Translator Silvija Brice (1958) scrutinizes this question in her article Through You My Life has Become a Beautiful Song or May Both Your Households be Cursed? Critic, literary historian and editor Arno Jundze (1965) in his contribution Refined and Mysterious Chemistry regards the shortage of editors as one of the most serious problems in Latvian literature. Pauls Bankovskis (1973) in God’s Advocate quotes the definition of editor in the Latvian Conversation Encyclopedia and illustrates our Glance’s theme with contemporary examples. The “problem” of editor and author merits another approach in an essay by Arvis Kolmanis (1959). How much has the work of the editor coincided during the Soviet years with the censor’s duties — this subject is under discussion between Ieva Kolmane and writer Zigmunds Skujiņš.

Texts. Literary critic Rimands Ceplis (1977), looking at the relation of I and The Other analyzes prose books published during 2006. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) continues his series of essays about Latvian literature during WWI and the time of the Latvian state’s founding. In The First Antiwar War of Latvian Publicistics he analyzes the paradox that the publicly advocated calls for peace of Latvian writers changed into real warmongering. It is known that Aspazija successfully deceived the public for years with a false year of her birth. But it turns out that she has not only two, but altogether three different attested birth dates. Literary historian Jānis Zālītis (1951) notes this in How Many Times Was Aspazija Born? New books reviewed include Jānis Rokpelnis’ novel Virtual Faust; a biography of Regīna Ezera by Nora Ikstena Being with Regina; a bilingual poetry collection Juris Kunnoss’ X; the yearly collection of short prose works Stories: Prose Readings in Presence and Absence; Līvija Volkova’s study The Gold of Blaumanis; the literary critical collection Version About… Latvian Literature 2000—2006; the encyclopedia Streets of Riga; Jean-François Lyotard’s Postmodern Condition.

Survey. Inta Kārkliņa (1950) interviews Imants Ziedonis. This month he turns 75, but does all he can not to allow this fact undue notice. However, surveying his writings, he admits “it seems that something has been done”. There is no shortage of creative plans. One only needs an intelligent secretary, he admits. He also expresses quite seriously that “If this were possible, I would rewrite nearly all my works”. And he adds, “That might be interesting. For myself certainly”.

We inform also about actualities in literary life in Latvia (also the conclusion of Zelta ābele competition), at our neighbours and the world.

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Karogs in April

In the lead essay Three Months With a Cybook , Guntis Berelis (1961) muses over the brand new reading technologies.

Texts open with a sequence of poems by Kārlis Vērdiņš (1979) which includes the poem Soldiers, winner of last year’s O livereto prize. In her short story Nausea Krista Burāne (1971) transforms and transplants into the present the WWII experiences of Latvian refugees looking for asylum across the sea in Sweden. Two stories by Austra Zīle (1934) are from her cycle The Measure of Forgiveness (true stories about our homestead’s dogs). Three young poets contribute poem cycles: Andis Surgunts (1984), Ulvis Zirnis (1986) and Herta (1989). The Lithuanian poet and essayist Kęstutis Navakas (1964) is the laureate of several literary prizes. His book, Chronicles of a Good Life has been recognized in 2005 as one of five best Lithuanian books. Iluta Narvila has translated four essays from this work. Fragments from poet Maira Asare’s (1960) prose work in progress Women’s Zone follow, as well as essays by Haralds Matulis (1979) Some Deconstructions. The Texts section concludes with Guntis Berelis’ travel notes Beginning and Center of the World.

Glance. Poet Kārlis Vērdiņš evaluates poetry books published in 2007 – For Footwear not Suitable Leather. Mārtiņš Lasmanis (1930), literary critic living in Sweden, in a study An Excursion to Värmland with Turns and Digressions scrutinizes interesting parallels he finds in the biographies of Swedish classic Selma Lagerlöf and Latvian classic Anna Brigadere. Literary scholar Valdis Ķikāns (1929) in Not Surmising the End of the World analyzes an interesting theme – the relation of Latvian poets of different periods to the idea of the end of the world. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) continues his report The Latvian State in Search of Permanent Peace about events in Latvian literature during WWI and the period of founding the Latvian State. Historian Kaspars Kļaviņš (1968) in his essay Sacred Forests, Paganism, and Ecology tries to uncover a connection between pre-Christian beliefs and depictions of nature in Latvian literature. Two reviews are devoted to Ieva Rupenheite’s latest book of poetry Black Beads.

Survey presents in an interview the translator Silvija Brice who celebrates her birthday in April and has already given the Latvian reading public the opportunity to get acquainted with over 150 books in her translation. She characterizes the work as a source of joy, yet demanding much time and tying one ever stronger “to home”. She recalls her experiences in translating the works of Günter Grass or Salman Rushdie as well as voluminous works of history, for example Antony Beevor’s Berlin, 1945.

We present the laureates of the 2007 Literary Prize and remark on the presentation in Liepāja. News of the Baltic Book Fair in Riga; the yearly book art competition Zelta ābele; various other literary events. As usual, news of literary life in the world; Estonian and Lithuanian events.

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Karogs in March

The lead essay, Between Tomorrow and the Future — Today is by Inta Kārkliņa (1950). The author talks about conditions that always make us be in a hurry. Even so much in a hurry that important affairs today often suffer the stamps of carelessness, affecting our economic and cultural life, even our personal relationships.

Texts brings a fragment of Nobel Prize laureate, Irish writer Samuel Beckett’s (1906—1989) novel Murphy, translated by Ieva Kolmane. Juris Kronbergs (1946) contributes Twelve Poems. Last year’s Prose Readings guest, American writer Gina Ochsner’s (1970) short story Elegy in Water is translated by Jānis Elsbergs. Armenian poet Marine Petrosian (1960) calls her work, Along the Haika Shores translated by Valda Salmiņa a folklore epos. Guntis Berelis (1961) continues his Armenian travel notes, The Beginning and Center of the World, this time concentrating on the State of Urartu and Armenian contacts with ancient Greece and Rome, including architectural remains of the period.

Glance concentrates on the question whether it is possible to teach to write and does one have to learn to be a writer? Three Tries to Ask an Incorrect Question is attempted by Project Leader at the Literary Academy, Ronalds Briedis (1980) and Laima Muktupāvela (1962), this year’s leader of the Academy’s prose masterclass in her essay, The Young Chap. A round table discussion on To Learn to Teach to Learn engages four writers who have experience in teaching writing or consulting: Pauls Bankovskis (1973), Aivars Eipurs (1956), Arvis Kolmanis (1959), Guntis Berelis (1961). A somewhat ironic glance at teaching writing is cast by Māris Bērziņš (1962), prose writer and playwright, in his short story Writing Courses … and Gutenmorgen.

Glance continues with essays by the Literary Academy’s 2006 prose masterclass graduates. They scrutinize the writer and the process of writing: Ineta Meimane (1966), Ieva Plūme (1973), Dace Šteinberga (1979), Kristīne Ulberga (1979) and Anta Blumberga (1972). Short prose works follow by nine: Ineta Meimane, Māra Skredele (1988), Ieva Plūme, Kristīne Ulberga, Dace Šteinberga, Katrīna Krēziņa (1989), Anta Blumberga, Kristīne Berķe (1987) and Raibīs Suņs (Oskars Orlovs, 1983).

Essays. Prose writer and literary historian Valdis Rūmnieks (1951) in his essay, Čaks from Beginning to End relates his experience and adventures in preparing the definite complete works by classic Aleksandrs Čaks. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) continues his analysis of Latvian literary idiosyncrasies during WWI and the time of founding the Latvian state: A Literary Depiction of Latvian War Luck. Latest books reviewed include Jānis Einfelds’ novel Mischiefmaker, Olafs Seviško’s book about opera singer Arnolds Skara Through Thorns Among the Stars, Ieva Čaklā’s memoir about her husband Māris Čaklais, But — There is a Knot in Heaven, and Tālis Vaidars’ literary legacy, Novels.

Survey. An interview with Silvija Tretjakova, head of the children’s literary center at the National Library of Latvia. She reviews the achievements of the last ten years in establishing a program to promote reading, Children’s Jury, and presents the secondary program, begun last year, First Meeting with the Library. Tretjakova expresses her thoughts about the circumstances still preventing a child from meeting a book as often as would be necessary.

Information about the latest literary events, competitions, books published in Latvia, at our neighbours, the world at large.

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February Issue of Literary Monthly „Karogs“

In the lead essay Arvis Kolmanis (1959) reflects on the borders separating literary spaces and, likewise, languages.

Karogs dedicates this issue to the Baltic Book Fair 2008 where recent Russian literature is presented, being practically unknown to Latvian readers.

The poetry section is authored by poets of varying ages: living classics — Inna Lisnyanska (1928) and Oleg Chuchontsev (1938); members of the middle generation — Irina Yermakova (1951) and Sergey Zavyalov (1958); the youngest included are Dmitry Vodennikov (1968), Maxim Amelin (1970) and Anna Russ (1981).

Vasily Aksionov (1932), former dissident, present day classic, relates in a partially autobiographic short story Eye in the Forehead a small boy’s experiences under Stalin during the arrest of his father. In the short story Christ Dmitry Bikov (1967) describes experiences in the Russian army: it is possible that the soldier terrorized by his comrades actually is the Messiah of our time. End of the Century by Oleg Popov (1970) also reveals a Biblical motif: during Christmas celebration in a hospital, a homeless man is brought in; due to the staff’s carelessness he dies. The next morning, his body is missing from the morgue. Mihail Shishkin (1961), in describing an unpretentious everyday episode in the life of Russian emigrants in Austria, Welcome to Z. , introduces cultural and historic allusions which unexpectedly widen the story’s reach in time and space. Aleksey Varlamov (1963), literary scholar and prose writer in Slav Film Night also meditates on Russian experiences in Europe. Andrey Gelasimov (1966) takes us back to Russia in Zhanna, a story of the rough and difficulty ridden life of a young mother in contemporary Russia. Alexander Kabakov (1943) in his short story Evil Love transposes the fairy-tale about Princess Frog to present day Moscow. The most entertaining anarchist of Russian literature, Yevgeniy Popov (1946) in Black, Soft Boots with Velcro Clothing changes the modest dream of a “small man” into a sombre existential parable. Andrei Levkin (1954) in Summer, August Thirty-One gives a variation of a popular Russian television film Sherlock Holmes that was made in Riga. In Levkin’s short story Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson live in Riga, as if outside time. In The White Square Zahar Prilepin (1975) analyzes the results produced by a tragic childhood event.

Survey. Brings an interview with the director of the State Language Center, Dr. Agris Timushka, Yes, that is our duty — to protect. He acquaints the readers with the main tasks of the Center: to strengthen the position of the State language in daily exchange and to improve the quality of the language used. The director also talks about the Center’s inspectors whose workaday life includes reacting to complaints concerning offences in the use of Latvian, also checking how well the law of the State language is being observed in the work of business companies, government offices, the media, etc.

Information about news in the literary life of the three Baltic States, Europe, and the world at large concludes the survey. We also cast a glance at the latest issue of the literary journal Metai.

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Karogs No. 1 of 2008

In the lead essay, Ieva Kolmane (1965) ponders how a reader manages to maintain what theories of aesthetics call “the aesthetic attitude” — keeping imagination and reality apart.

Texts. A poem sequence by Russian poet and translator Sergey Moreino (1964), translated by Maira Asare (1960). A fragment from Inga Žolude’s (1984) first novel Warm Land and poems by Pēteris Draguns (1976). The main prize at the Prose Readings 2007 went to Māris Mikulāns (1965) for his short story Travelsadness. A debut in Karogs — poems by Justīne Kļava (1990). Also poems by Andris Zeibots (1950) and Andris Ogriņš (1975). Other prose works: Ēriks Lanss (1940) Fairytale in Naivism Style and continuation of Guntis Berelis’ (1961) travel notes from Armenia .

Essays. Literary critic Austra Gaigala (1979) in her study The Poetics of Juris Kunnoss: Signs of Modernism analyzes the connections of Juris Kunnoss’ poetry to the movements of the first half of the 20 th century, Surrealism, Imaginism, Expressionism. She finds interesting analogies to these ideas in the work of this original, yet during his lifetime not really appreciated poet. Māra Grudule (1963) in Number Symbolism in Latvian Poetry tells about the rather few chronograms in Latvian poetry and the possibility of number symbolism in the works of Rainis.

Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) continues his narrative about Latvian literature in the period of WWI and the founding of the Latvian state. This time the author looks sceptically at the relation of ideas expressed in the texts and reality: Founding of the State as a Test of Irrational Forces.

Doctor of medicine and writer Jānis Liepiņš (1930) publishes a memoir of his work in provincial hospitals during the sixties and seventies of the past century: Oases of Art in the Desert of Science . They were his frequent contacts with artists in the provinces.

Imants Belogrīvs interviews the outstanding science fiction author Harry Harrison (1925): In Ourselves We Trust.

Reviews of recent books: two first appearances: Fruit-Drops that Will Cut Your Tongue by Ingmāra Balode; About Violins and other Beasts by Mincenhofs; the Latvian edition of the novel Shirt by Russian writer Evgeniy Grishkovec.

Survey. An interview with Janīna Kursīte, literary scholar, academician, Professor at the University of Latvia . She looks back at what has been achieved in 2007; tells about projects and expeditions she took part in; about publications and collected works. Professor Kursīte also relates picturesquely about people met on the expeditions (in Belarus , for example); she also reveals her private opinion about the most colourful of Latvia ‘s regions — Latgale and Kurzeme. She also mentions the historic and cultural memory we as people have, considering it neither deep nor lasting. The reasons for this she also discusses.

We inform about the yearly Prose Readings taking place early in December; an essay competition in the schools, concerning Rūdolfs Blaumanis; about the results of another competition organized by the Latvian Literary Centre to gain support for foreign publishers to publish translations of Latvian literary works.

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Karogs in December

In the lead essay, A Christmas Gift to Oneself Guntis Berelis (1961), following his belief that the most pleasing way is to gift oneself, reveals how he will make himself happy this coming Christmas.

Texts brings fragments from Dzintars Sodums’ (1922) novel Beyond and poem sequences by three poets. Edvīns Raups (1962) O, how good is this weight; Eduards Aivars (1956) Not Breaking the Law of Autumn, and Elīna Bākule (1981) God, Garden and Other Motifs. Prose writer and critic Guntis Berelis begins his notes about a trip to Armenia , The Beginning and Center of the World with climbing to the top of Aragatz , Armenia ‘s highest peak, and the Amberd fortress.

Glance spreads a feeling of Christmas – Latvian literary works that one way or another mirror it. Artis Svece (1970) presents Christmas Stories – a Fragmentary Literary Chronology. It is followed by 6 authors’ prose works and three poets: Krista Burāne (1971); Māra Svīre (1936); Skaidrīte Kaldupe (1922); Kristīne Ulberga (1979); Dace Šteinberga (1979), and Ieva Plūme (1973). The poets are Agnese Krivade (1981), Eduards Aivars and Māris Salējs (1971).

Essays. Literary historian Līvija Volkova (1931) has finished work at Blaumanis’ Gold, an analysis of classic Rūdolfs Blaumanis’ life and work. She relates about this in an interview with Guntis Berelis. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) continues his series analyzing the relationship of Latvian writers to the ideas of violence and terrorism propagated and also executed by politicians during the period of WWI and the founding of Latvian state. This time – St. Peter on Latvia ‘s Threshold. Literary historian Gundega Grīnuma (1948) ends her series about the building of a monument to Rainis and Aspazija in Lugano with her essay We with All Our Past and the Resurrection of a Monument in Castagnola. Three book reviews — philosopher and journalist Ilmārs Šlāpins’ debut collection of poetry Karmabandha , Leons Briedis’ translation from Italian of Eugenio Montale’s poetry, and Inga Gaile’s poetry collection Cake Mary.

Survey brings an interview with literary scholar and researcher of our folksongs or dainas, ex-president Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga. This month she celebrates a landmark birthday – 70. But in our interview Mrs. Freiberga talks about the place books occupy in her life, about the authors closest to her heart, about her reading habits. We also asked her about work accomplished in the daina research, her present involvement and future plans.

During the II Letonica congress, in varying sections more than 400 talks were presented. Latvian publishers participated at the book fair in Istanbul . As usual, news of literary life in Latvia , Lithuania , the world.

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November Issue of the Literary Monthly “Karogs”

The lead essay by Arvis Kolmanis (1959) Goats on the Nevsky Prospect was inspired by St. Petersburg experiences.

Texts begin with a poetic sequence replete with deeply personal experiences by Jānis Elsbergs (1969). Nora Ikstena (1969) has fragments from her book in progress Being. Regīna Ezera. Poems by young poet Agris Alonderis (1984) Generally I Really Like Love Poems are followed by Jānis Einfelds’ (1967) long story The Church of Babel.

Glance brings testimony of this year’s project Hypertext. In connection with computer programmers, young writers interested in expanding the boundaries of literature have created a collective text. They have made it alive in virtual environment and open to crisscrossing. The project puts in doubt the authority of the author, increasing the reader’s rights to create a personal, unique version of the work in question. With the hypertext in world literature we are introduced by Haralds Matulis (1979), Ieva Šakina (1984), Dainis Leinerts (1985), Lāsma Grants (1985). An example of a hypertext is presented created by writers Anna Akmentiņa (1984), Inga Žolude (1984) and Arvis Kolmanis.

Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) in his essay, Litigation as a Crime relates of the happenings at the end of WWI in Latvia and their reflection in literature: escalation of violence in reality and writing. Velga Krile (1945–1991), during her lifetime not appropriately valued as a poet, lives in her sister Antra Krile’s memories, Stepan Razin, Nebuchadnezzar, and Velga Krile. Antra Krile also recalls her sister’s work at yet unpublished historical and Biblical plays. Literary historian Gundega Grīnuma (1948) continues her report on the tragicomic troubles encountered by the plans to erect a monument in Lugano to Rainis and Aspazija. This time a new player joins the action – U.S.S.R. Security Commision, known as the Cheka. Reviews of new books: poet and prose writer Rūta Skujiņa’s (1907–1964) two volumes of selected works, On God’s Palm and Ships that do Not Return; also Juris Zvirgzdiņš’ story for children Container Girl Rudīte.

Survey. A rich variety of information about Latvian literary life: 130 th birthday of Jānis Jaunsudrabiņš; and academic conference devoted to Rainis and Aspazija; the participating at the yearly book fairs at Gothenburg and Frankfurt. We introduce the laureates of the Pastariņa and Olivereto prizes. The news in the exile Latvian magazine Jaunā Gaita , published in Canada; of our neighbours and the world over.

Information prepared by the magazine’s editorial staff

Karogs No. 10

In the leading essay Ieva Kolmane (1965) treats any writer as inevitably public figure endowed with specific rights and obligations.

Texts opens with a poem sequence by Pēters Brūveris (1950) Minor in Major. Prose is represented by works from the cycle Fairytales on Insomnia by Krista Burāne (1971) and a fragment from the long story The One Chosen by Howitzer by Ēriks Kūlis (1941). During August 2007, an automatic writing seminar took place at the Museum of Medicine, participated by several Latvian writers. We offer shorthand notes of the seminar, introduced by Haralds Matulis (1979) and Ieva Šakina (1984). Poems by Valentins Lukaševičs (1968).

Glance is turned towards the writer-publicist and the close connection between journalism and literature. The place journalism occupies and the part it plays in the context of the most essential world events is the topic of an essay by Ābrams Kleckins (1933), professor at the University of Latvia. Anda Rožukalne (1965), director of the program of journalism at Riga Stradiņš’ University talks about the writer in the media. Their own thoughts about journalism express several of our writers and poets whose publications we read often in the press. They are: Ēriks Hānbergs (1933), Arno Jundze (1965), Agnese Krivade (1981), Marina Kosteņecka (1945), Imants Liepiņš (1981), Anda Līce (1941), Laima Muktupāvela (1962), Anna Rancāne (1959), Gundega Repše (1960), Māra Svīre (1936), Monika Zīle (1941), Liāna Langa (1960). We also bring some examples of publicistic works.

Glance. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) in his essay Freedom of Speech to Advocate the Law of the Fist is continuing his theme about the paradoxical convolution of politics and literature which we meet in Latvian literature during WWI. This time about the modifications of Latvia’s freedom idea in propaganda poetry as well as in the Bolsheviks who, contrary to Latvian writers, managed rather uncomprehensively still in 1917 to oppose capital punishment. Poet and translator Leons Briedis (1949) in his essay Logos and Melos analyzes in poetry and music their reciprocity in sense, nonsense, sound. His starting point are examples from antiquity as well as 20 th century modernism. Under review is Inga Gaile’s third collection of poetry Cake Mary and artist Andris Breže’s second book of poetry, Spirits. Side Effects, signed with the alias Žebers.

Survey. An interview with Raimonds Briedis, chairman of the State Culture Capital Foundation’s Literature Branch Expert Comission. He gives his views about the quality of the projects submitted for the competitions, how closely writers follow the rules, how they account for spending the funds received. Raimonds Briedis also characterizes contemporary Latvian literature and is gratified that the State Culture Capital Foundation furthers its development.

September bring the sounds of Poetry Days to the entire country. We inform about the events in Riga, Liepāja, Daugavpils and elsewhere and about the recipient of the Poetry Days prizes. As usual, news of literary life at our neighbours, in Europe and the world.

Information prepared by the magazine’s editorial staff

„Karogs“ in September

Some time ago Latvians were quite prolific writers of travel books. In Karogs lead essay, Guntis Berelis (1961) ponders over decreased popularity of the genre and suggests this might be connected with latest tendencies in literature.

Texts bring new translations of Iranian classic Omar Khayyam’s (1048–1122) Rubaiyat. The translator as well as author of the foreword and commentaries is Franciska Cimare (1968). Aivars Eipurs (1956) presents a sequel of miniatures In One Room with Anton Webern or Minima II . A short story by Lithuanian writer Alvydas Šlepikas (1966) My Friend Sigitas has been tranlsated by Indra Brūvere. Fragments from French writer Emmanuel Carrére (1957) Class Excursion are translated by Dens Dimiņš. From Latvian poetry: Breakfast for a Bird Choir by Anda Līce (1941) and poems by young poet Jānis Vādons (1979). Uldis Bērziņš (1944) gives Latvian versions of Turkish poet Ataol Behramoglu (1942); one of the poems has Elīna Bākule (1981) as co-translator.

Glance concentrates on the international project SeaLines . Among the participants were also Latvian literati, Marika Papēde (1980) from the Latvian Literature Centre introduces. As part of the project have been published essays by Jānis Elsbergs (1969) and Laima Muktupāvela (1962); a prose fragment by Egīls Venters (1964), poems by Artūrs Punte (1977), Ian Davidson (1957), and Michael O’Loughlin (1958).

Essays do offer essays – Latvia’s Russian language poet Sergey Moreino (1964) muses over two outstanding Latvian poets, Uldis Bērziņš and Jānis Rokpelnis. Historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) uses little known texts by early 20 th century writers to analyze contemporary reception of World War I. His essay is called Ideals and Everyday Life During the First World War . Translator Solveiga Elsberga (1938) publishes fragments of her memoir Quite Recently and reveals her experience in translating Henrik Ibsen. Critic Sandra Ratniece (1970) scrutinizes the process of criticism during 2006. Latest books reviewed: a historic novel Hunchback of Riga by Aivars Kļavis , a novel Arctiidae by Ilze Indrāne; Radio Luxembourg by Egīls Venters, and a collection of essays and interviews, Pitfalls Dug by Dreams by film producer Ilona Brūvere.

Survey brings an interview with the director of Riga’s Central Library (RCB), Dzidra Šmita. This is one of the oldest libraries in Latvia – last year it celebrated its 100 th anniversary. But this autumn RCB will celebrate 10 years since it moved to a new location and opened a subscription department, a reading room and a children’s library. This interview tells about RCB’s daily work, its readers, collection and problems to be solved.

We inform of the celebration of Jānis Jaunsudrabiņš’ 130 th anniversary; about the camps for the winners of the Wide Horizon Contest ; about the international Poet Travel ; the achievements of the Liepāja writers; and literary activities in the three Baltic States and world wide.

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The Literary Monthly “Karogs” in August

In Karogs lead essay, Sleeping on Childhood’s Pillow Inta Kārkliņa (1950) expresses both her thoughts how important is the earliest possible meeting of child and book as well as her satisfaction with the development of the children’s and youth literary programs. The first results visible are – more good books, more readers.

Texts offer Horizontal Ladder, a poem sequel by Ronalds Briedis (1980), Inga Žolude’s (1984) short story, A Question of a Place to Live; poems by Baiba Bičole (1931), exile poet living in the U.S. and Gaiķu Māris (1973), Juris Zvirgzdiņš’ (1941) fairy story King the Fart; a collection of mini novellas Instants from the pen of satirist Andris Briedis (1937) and more by Rihards Bargais (1969) – miniatures Gossip.

Glance is devoted to the youngest generation of our literary scholars. Latvian University Philological Faculty Baltic Philology Master of Arts’ first year students have formed an interesting provocation: a law of literary scholarship. Parodying in real law paragraphs and clauses, they discuss in legalese a very real question – the possibility of paying an honorary to poor (not in a material sense) literary scholars for not writing.

Guntis Berelis (1961) met five of the authors of this law at a round table discussion Totalitarian Utopia and Harsh Reality. He found one of them, Pauls Daija (1984) quite plausible. His essay follows, Beginning and End of the First Latvian Journal about the first 18 th century journal, Latvian Yearbook, dedicated to the general public.

In Essays historian Arnis Kluinis (1962) relates about writing that was abundantly produced at the beginning of World War I in which for propaganda purposes Germans were represented as fearful and at the same time curious monsters.

Poet Imants Auziņš (1937) in a fragment from his memoir in progress, How I Did Not Join the Party recalls some interesting episodes from the marginal literary life of the Sixties. This is reflected in his interview.

Literary historian Gundega Grīnuma (1948) continues her series about the tragicomic mixups surrounding efforts by the exile community to build a memorial in Switzerland to Rainis and Aspazija. Reviews of new books include Māris Bērziņš’ short prose collection Gūtenmorgens; Agnese Krivade’s debut poetry collection childhood; literary scholar Janīna Kursīte’s extravagant dictionary Non-academic Latvian Language Dictionary or Regional Wordbook. Literary scholar Bārbala Stroda (1978) presents her study on the origins of fantasy literature.

Survey turns to the latest activities of the program White Wolf Books and reveals this year’s laureates of the original Latvian literature competition. We present this summer’s guests at the Writers House in Ventspils and look at some pages of Jaunā Gaita. As always: a chronicle of literary life, latest developments at our neighbours in Estonia , Lithuania , the world.

Information prepared by the magazine’s editorial staff

Karogs No. 7

Issued from collaboration with the Finnish Literature Exchange, this issue is nearly entirely devoted to contemporary Finnish literature.

Texts are introduced by Renāte Blumberga’s (1971) essay Is it Really Silent Skiers? — a Latvian’s thoughts about Finns and Finnish literature. Maima Grīnberga-Preisa (1969), translator and editor of this section reveals in a short essay the principles responsible for her selections. In an essay Young Voices of Finnish Poetry literary critic Eino Santanen (1975) and poet Saila Susiluoto (1971) scrutinize contemporary Finnish poetry’s directions and tendencies. Translations of the following Finnish poets: Heli Laaksonen (1972), Sanna Karlström (1975), Markku Paasonen (1967), Aki Salmela (1976), Mikko Rimminen (1975), Saila Susiluoto (1971) and Olli Sinivaara (1980) are by Guntars Godiņš and Maima Grīnberga-Preisa.

Literary critic and journalist Jarmo Papinniemi (1968) offers a survey of contemporary Finnish prose (translated by Ingrīda Peldekse). Fragments from five novels are translated by Maima Grīnberga-Preisa as is a short story from Rosa Liksom’s (1958) collection Earth: Asko Sahlberg’s (1964) Oak Grove, Tuomas Kyrö’s (1974) Union, Maria Peura’s (1970) Edge of Light, Hannu Raittila’s (1956) Atlantis, and Arto Salminen’s (1959—2005) Kalavale. Folk Epos.

Finnish drama is in the care of philologist Ilze Matisone (1971). In an article How Much is this Worth in Finland Maima Grīnberga-Preisa acquaints Latvian readers with the “financial situation and securities” of Finnish literature, mentioning concrete numbers, premiums, stipends, and prizes.

Essays. Gundega Grīnuma (1948) continues her series of essays about the tragicomic intrigues surrounding the memorial to Latvian classic Rainis in Lugano: By a Hair of Ostracism.

Survey brings an interview with Benedikts Kalnačs, director of the University of Latvia Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art. He relates that, although the Institute has changed its jurisdictional status and functions now as a state agency under the protection of the University, its main task has remained unchanged: the study of Latvian literature and folklore, including research of the development of drama, music, and film. As the most pressing present task Kalnačs mentions the digitalization of the Institute’s research, making it more widely accessible. He is proud of achievement in the fields of folklore and drama history. He characterizes the main themes of concentration of literary scholars.

We report on two years of succesful work by the Talsi School of Writing; the May walk at Grīziņkalns, Vizma Belševica’s world; the Goethe society 80 th plenary session in Weimar; other literary news in Latvia and the world.

Information prepared by the magazine’s editorial staff

June Issue of the Literary Monthly “Karogs”

In the lead essay Limits, Arvis Kolmanis (1959) muses about boldness in decisions both in literature and life.

Texts begins with Latvian literature veteran Ilze Indrāne’s (1927) short stories Behind the Door and The Thirteenth Fish Series. We publish a poem series Hyphens by Dagmāra Igale (1930), poet and artist living in the U.S. (introduced by Liāna Langa (1960)) and the younger generation poet Andis Surgunts (1984) poems Oh, these Sadeyed Monsters. Poet Jānis Rokpelnis (1945) has turned to prose. We offer fragments from his novel The Virtual Faust.

Glance is dedicated this time to the topic Literature and Religion. Their mutual interaction, merging and repulsion in varied points of contact are scrutinized by poet Uldis Bērziņš (1944); literary critic Iveta Ratinīka (1978); poet Leons Briedis (1949); writers Māris Bērziņš (1962) and Pēteris Pūrītis (1970); poet Aivars Eipurs (1956). Imants Belogrīvs’ (1953) conversation with Russian cosmonaut Georgy Grechko (1931) reveals his thoughts about the cosmos, literature and turning to God.

Essays brings two comprehensive surveys about books published during 2006. Poet and translator Kārlis Vērdiņš (1979) evaluates poetry, critic Rimands Ceplis (1977) prose. Gundega Grīnuma (1948) continues her cycle of essays about the tragicomic intrigues surrounding the memorial to Latvian classic Rainis in Lugano: Too Small for Latvians, too large for Castagnola. Literary historian Jānis Zālītis (1951) presents a study on the history of Tālava’s Trumpeter motif so well known in Latvian literature. The critic Mārtiņš Lasmanis (1930), living in Sweden, in analyzing the prose of Visvaldis Lāms finds surprising analogies to the prose of classic Jānis Poruks. Another review is dedicated to a short story collection of nearly forgotten prose writer Tālis Vaidars.

Survey brings an interview with Jānis Oga, director of Latvian Literature Centre. He participated in May to the Turin book fair. A national booth represented Latvian books and publishing. In the interview, he summarizes other activities of the Centre in promoting and translating Latvian literature abroad while stressing the main directions and actual tasks of the Centre.

Information in Survey also about the latest news of literary life in our country, Lithuania and the world; the general meeting of our Writers Union; the publication of Pumpurs’ Lāčplēsis in English under the title of Bearslayer; other news.

Information prepared by the magazine’s editorial staff

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