Latvian Feature Edited by J.C. Todd and Margita Gailitis
Translations - Fall/Winter 2005Eduards Aivars (b. 1956) Poet and essayist, he has published five volumes of poetry. The most recent volume received the Latvian Poetry Prize (2002). He uses his pen name when publishing poetry, and his birth name, Aivars Eipurs, for his work as therapist in the Minnesota program for drug and alcohol counseling.
Amanda Aizpuriete (b. 1956) Widely published poet and translator. Since 1980, she has published 8 books of poetry and one novel in Latvian, with books published in translation in Sweden and Germany. Her poetry and prose has been published in anthologies in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Iceland, France, Germany, Russia, Canada and U.S.A. Eric Funk has composed a symphony with text from her This Eventide Seems Spoiled. She has translated Georg Trakl, Joseph Brodsky, Virginia Woolf, Ken Kesey and John Updike. She received the prestigious Horst Bienek Prize from the Bavaria Academy of Art (1999); the Latvian Poetry Prize (2000) for Bābeles nomalē (Outskirts of Babel); the Latvian Book Prize (2003) for translations of Anna Akhmatova.
Vizma Belševica (b. 1931; d. 2005) has seven volumes of poetry, and numerous awards in Latvia, including the Ojārs Vācietis Award (1988), the Order of the Three Stars (1995), and the Cultural Ministry Award for Life Achievement in Literature (1997). Her Swedish awards include the Einar Forseth Foundation Award (1992) and Tomas Transtromer Award (1998).
Uldis Bērziņš (b.1944) Prolific translator and poet. His first poems appeared in 1963 but the first of his six volumes did not appear until the 1980s. His poetry has been translated into French, Swedish, Estonian, Lithuanian, Russian and other languages. A polyglot, he has translated poems for many languages, including Turkish, Persian, Spanish, English, Polish, Swedish, Russian and Old Icelandic. His current project is translation of the Koran and the Old Testament from Hebrew and Arabic into Latvian. His awards include the Literary Award of the Baltic Assembly (1995) and Order of the Three Stars (1995).
Karen Blomain160 207, a professor at Kutztown University since 1990, holds an undergraduate degree and an MFA from Columbia. Her publications include two full-length collections and two chapbooks of poetry, the novel, A Trick of Light and numerous stories and essays published in periodicals and anthologies, including the new anthology Sudden Stories. She is the editor of a poetry anthology and the co-translator of numerous poems. Her work has been broadcast on National Public Radio. A Trick of Light was recently selected for Chapters, a city-wide book club sponsored by the Press and Sun Bulletin in Binghamton, New York.
Leons Briedis (b. 1949) Founding publisher and editor of the Latvian philosophical journal, Kentaurs XXI (Centaur XXI) and Minerva, Ltd. publishing house, he has published almost 20 volumes of poetry. He writes for both adults and children and translates from Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Catalonian, Latin, Swahili, Russian, English and others. His international literary prizes include one from the Writers' Union of Romania (1991) and the Order of the Three Stars from Latvia (1999).
Ronalds Briedis (b. 1980) Poet and critic, he has published one volume of poetry (2004) which received the best poetic debut award. He manages literary projects for the Writers' Union of Latvia.
Inara Cedrins' first anthology of contemporary Latvian poetry was published by the University of Iowa Press in 1981; her chapbook of translations of the poetry of Astrid Ivask, At the Fallow's Edge, was a Small Press Book of the Month Club selection and went into a second edition. She previously edited an issue of the online magazine Omega featuring Latvian poets (accessible at www.howlingdogpress.com). Her poems, stories and translations from the Latvian have appeared in The North American Review, Chelsea, Prairie Schooner, The Portland Int'l. Review, The Ledge, The Minnesota Review, Translation/Columbia University, the Massachusetts Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Atlanta Review, New Letters and The Chariton Review, among others.
Cassy Cross was born in 1982, in a small Romanian town, the first child of an ordinary family. Her great loves: literature and foreign languages. She was planning to study literature in university but, eventually, decided for medicine. She is now in her fourth year. Medicine did not diminish her interest in literature: she speaks five languages, works as an interpreter and is a member of a poetry discussion list. Her poems are published in various Romanian and Danish publications, and last year she contributed a goup of poems in a poetry book. Cassy writes, I do not believe in a literature of exceptions, since I am living in a real world, with real problems this is why my poetry brings up issues we face daily, both in our material and spiritual lives.
Sándor Csoóri , one of Hungary's most prominent and outspoken poets, is the author of seventeen books of poetry, six books of essays, two novels, and several film scripts. He has received numerous awards for his poetry, including the Attila József Prize in Poetry, The Hungarian Book of the Year Award (1995), the Károli Gáspár Award, the Hungarian Heritage Award and the prestigious Kossuth Award, Hungary's greatest honor for achievement in artistic or scientific work. He was a major figure in the founding of the Hungarian Democratic Forum and was Chairman of the World Federation of Hungarians from 1991-2000. He is a leading proponent for the rights of ethnic Hungarians in other countries.
Alexander Dovzhenko was born into a peasant family in the Desna River area in Northeast Ukraine in 1894. Along with Sergei Eisenstein and Vasevolod Pudovkin, Dovzhenko is considered one of the Soviet Union's greatest early filmmakers; his silent film Earth (1930), a poetic tribute to Nature and Ukrainian village life, is still often regarded among the top ten best films of all time. In addition to his legacy as a silent film poet, he produced a brief autobiographical article of approximately twenty-one pages and two hundred and forty-five pages of notebooks that he kept from 1941 until his death. These record an intimate account of the Ukraine during the German invasion and occupation in the Second World War as well Dovzhenko's inner development as film artist. Much has been lost; little exists in English print today. Dovzhenko died in 1956 after suffering two decades of Stalinist oppression. He left behind several scripts, most of which had also been banned by Soviet censors. His wife and creative partner, Yulia Solntseva, produced some of these including a 1965 Mosfilm and Dovzhenko Film Studio production of The Enchanted Desna (Zachrovannaya Desna) based on his 1942-1948 autobiographical film-tale.
Jānis Elsbergs (b. 1969) Poet and translator, his first two volumes were published under the pen name Jānis Ramba. Translator of Shakespeare's Cymbeline, Harold Pinter, Arthur Miller, Kurt Vonnegut, Walt Whitman, Charles Bukowski and American Beat poets such as Gregory Corso and Gary Snyder. His book, Rīta kafija (Morning Coffee)(1996) shows the Beat influence. He has been co-editor of major Latvian literary journals, including Karogs and Luna and head of the Young Authors' Association.
Klāvs Elsbergs (b.1959; d. 1987) Poet and translator, he published two volumes of his poetry and one was published posthumously. A major translator of French poetry including a collection of poems by Guillaume Apollinaire. A leading poet of his generation, he was one of the founding editors of Avots, an influential intellectual monthly that introduced avant garde and politically charged subjects during the period of Glasnost.
Inga Gaile (b.1976) Winner of the Klāvs Elsbergs First Book Award (1999) and the Ojārs Vācietis Award (2004) for her second volume. She also translates from Russian the poetry of the Riga-based Orbita group.
Margita Gailitis was born in Riga, Latvia, and is a writer, poet and translator. She left Latvia as a small child and after several years spent in displaced persons camps in Germany, immigrated with her mother and two sisters to Canada. She has travelled extensively and has lived for extended periods of time in the U.S., Jamaica, Italy and Spain. In 1998 she returned to Latvia to work at the Translation and Terminology Centre in Riga on a Canadian International Development Agency sponsored project translating Latvian laws into English a prerequisite for Latvia's accession to the EU. Having spent her professional life in Canada working in advertising and marketing, she also assumed marketing and PR responsibilities for the Translation Centre. Now Margita Gailitis concentrates her efforts on literary translation and her poetry, which she writes in both Latvian and English. She has translated some of Latvia's finest poetry and prose and been instrumental in organizing publishing opportunities for Latvian writers in Canada, U.S., Spain and elsewhere. Her poetry has been published in various periodicals and has been awarded both Ontario and Canada Council grants. Her poems have been published in a book Freedom Half Blind.
Astrīde Ivaska (b. 1926) Poet and professor. Author of 6 volumes of poetry in Latvian, she recently returned to Latvia after many years abroad. In the United States she taught at Oklahoma University and St. Olaf's College and was a reviewer for World Literature Today. Inara Cedrins' English translations of Ivaska's selected poetry appeared in two volumes in the US.
Inguna Jansone (b. 1963) Poet and translator, her major translations include Edgar Allen Poe, Richard Brautigan and Fay Weldon. Her second poetry collection, Sampuns ar balzamu (Shampoo and Balsam), was awarded the Anna Dagda Award (1998).
Ana Jelnikar , born in 1975 in Ljubljana (Slovenia), received her secondary school education in London, graduated in English and Sociology from the University of Ljubljana, and holds an MA in literature from the Open University (England). She is now doing a PhD at the University of London (SOAS). She has been translating from, and into, English for over a decade now. Her translation of Iztok Osojnik's book of poems Mister Today came out in 2003 by Jacaranda Press (California), and Brane Mozetič's poetry volume Butterflies was published in America in 2004. Her most recent translations of poetry collections include Iztok Geister's Hymnn to the Bush Tree and Taja Kramberger's Mobilizations. Her translations have appeared in such literary magazines as Verse, Southern Humanities Review, Third Coast, and The American Poetry Review. She is also the translator of the first Slovenian edition of C. G. Jung's Man and His Symbols.
Martha Kosir-Widenbauer was born in the US and grew up in Slovenia. After finishing high school, she moved back to the US and completed university studies there, earning a Ph.D. in Hispanic Literature from Vanderbilt University in 2004, with the area of specialization in 18th and 19th Spanish Peninsular literature; however, she is also very interested in translation studies. Her translations of the German poet Ulrike Draesner were published in the poetry journal Sirena produced at Dickinson College.
Juris Kronbergs (b. 1946) Born in Sweden of Latvian parents, he is an important figure in Latvian poetry and actively promotes Latvian literature in Sweden, translating dainas (folksongs), and Belševica, Skujenieks, Ziedonis and others authors into Swedish. First published in the mid-1960s, his recent collection Vilks vienacis (Wolf One-Eye) was published bilingually in Latvian and Swedish. His awards include the Ojārs Vācietis award (1988) and the Order of the Three Stars (1998).
Liāna Langa (b. 1960) Former director of the Latvian National Council of Culture, she began to publish in 1988, winning Latvian National Literary Awards for two books, Te debesis, te ciparnīca (NowHeaven, Now an Hourglass) (1997) and Iepūt taurītē, Skorpion! (BlowYour Horn, Scorpion!, 2001). She translates from Russian and English and has studied literature at the New School in New York. Her legal name is Liāna Bokša.
Ieva Lešinska (b.1958) is an editor, journalist, poet and translator living and working in Riga, Latvia. Once a culture editor for Radio Free Europe in Munich, since 1993 Ms. Lesinska has been on the editorial staff at the magazine Rigas Laiks and also holds a full-time position as English language editor at the central bank of Latvia. In her capacity as editor journalist, she is particularly known for her interviews with Latvian political figures and her coverage of intellectual and artistic developments in Europe and the United States. Her translations of Latvian poetry are regularly published both in Latvia and abroad. She has received special notice for her translations of Anglo American poets into Latvian, including T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, Allen Ginsberg's Kaddish, as well as selected poems by Robert Frost, Seamus Heaney, D. H. Lawrence, Ezra Pound, Dylan Thomas, and others. Her original poetry has appeared in Latvian periodicals and anthologies. She is currently working on a book of documentary fiction. In this issue, she has translated Bērziņš, Gaile, Zirnitis, and Zandere.
Inna Lisynanskaya was born in Baku in 1928. She began her writing career at the age of twenty when her first poems were published in local magazines. Later when she moved to Moscow her first collection of poetry was published in the popular Soviet magazines, Youth and The New World. Her book of poetry, Devotion was published in 1958. The translations in this issue are from The Music and the Shore, published in 2000 by the Pushkin Foundation in St. Petersburg. Her latest collection, Under the Snow's Light was published by the same publishing house in 2002. She has won the Soldzenitsyn Prize (1999), the State Literary Prize, and several prizes from different Russian literary magazines. She lives in Peredelkino.
Janko M. Lozar , born 1973 in Novo mesto, Slovenia. In 2000, he received a B.A. in English translation and philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts. In 2005, he received a PhD in philosophy. Current occupation is assistant at the Ljubljana Faculty of Fine Arts, the Department of Philosophy. The scope of his translations ranges from philosophy (Richard Rorty), literary science, prose, two volumes of poetry (Brian Henry's Astronaut and a selection of poems by Joshua Beckmann (Leaving New York)) as well as poems by various authors from Great Britain and USA who took part in the Slovenian poetry festival Medana (Andrew Zawacki, Matthew Zapruder). He also translates into English (Lucija Stupica, Dane Zajc, Ales Steger).
Andreea Luncan has an A B.A. in English and Romanian language and literature and an M.A. in British and American Cultural Studies. She has always loved poetry and translation. A member of the on-line literary group Words Exchange, she had her poems published in their first anthology as well as in numerous literary magazines. Andreea currently resides in the Western Romanian city of Timisoara with her husband and young son.
Camelia Luncan was born in Oradea, Romania, in 1980. She was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in 2002, at the University of Oradea, Faculty of Philology, with a major in Theology and minor in English Language. She is a graduate student of Educational Management at the University of Oradea and has been teaching English in High School in Oradea, Emanuel, for 3 years.
Dr. Anette Márta is an Assistant Professor of English and Translation Studies at the University of Pécs, Hungary. She started translating Csoóri's poems as a senior student when Len Roberts was a visiting professor at the University of Pécs. Her favorite Csoóri translations can be dated to her Fulbright fellowship at the University of Iowa. Over the years, translating poetry has become a somewhat neglected activity as research and teaching workload diverted her focus. She got her PhD in linguistics in 2005.
Ilze Klavina-Mueller , a native of Latvia, divides her time between translation and poetry. Her translations of the work of Vizma Belševica include poems and selections from Belševica's memoir Bille, published in in The Review of Contemporary Fiction (Spring 1998). Her poems have appeared in Looking For Home: Women Writing About Exile, CALYX, Water~Stone and other journals. She is a member of The Laurel Writers Collective, a group of writers and graphic artists living in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area.
Dzvinia Orlowsky is the author of three full-length poetry collections published by Carnegie Mellon University Press: A Handful of Bees (1994); Edge of House (1999); and Except for One Obscene Brushstroke (2003). Her poetry translations of contemporary Ukrainian poetry have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies including Leviathan Quarterly, A Hundred Years of Youth: A Bilingual Anthology of 20th Century Ukrainian Poetry (Lviv Press, 2000) and From Three Worlds: New Writing from the Ukraine (Zephyr Press, 1996). Translations of Dzvinia Orlowsky's poetry into Ukrainian by Natalka Bilotserkivets were published in Vsesvit-Reivew of World Literature 2003.
Maya Petrukhina is a senior professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foundation. She has translated many American and Canadian prose writers, including Adam Hoschild and Kevin Finley and has been a fellow at Blue Mountain Center and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Ionatan Pirosca was born on May, 20 1958 in Braila, a town in South Eastern Romania, in a Christian family who raised him in a strong anti-Communist spirit. He has been writing since childhood. Between 1984 and 1991, he received various literary awards at Romanian National Festivals of Poetry, but the Communist regime prevented him from having a literary career. Only after the fall of Communism was the first of his four volumes of poetry published in 1994, and in 2005 he received the prestigious Ioan Alexandru Award for Poetry. In 2001 he founded the on-line literary circle Cuvinte la schimb (Words' Exchange) which currently has more than 200 membersyoung Romanians who love and write poetry.
Edvīns Raups (b. 1962) Poetry editor of the cultural weekly, Kultūras Forums, he has published four volumes of poetry in Latvia and translated many Latin American and Spanish authors. First published in 1986, his awards include the Klāvs Elsbergs First Book Award (1991) and the Rainis and Aspazija Foundation Prize (1995), the Fortech Literature Award (1998) and the Preses nams Award for his fourth collection, Uzvāri man kaut ko pārejošu (Cook Up Something Transitory for Me). His poetry is widely translated. His birth name is Edvīns Struka.
Len Roberts is the translator of two full-length volumes and three chapbooks of Sándor Csoóri's poetry, as well as the author of nine books of his own poetry. His next book of poems, The Disappearing Trick, will be published by the University of Illinois in 2006. He has received a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for his translation work. His fourth book of poems, Black Wings, was selected for the National Poetry Series. His poems and translations have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Poetry, Paris Review, and The Hudson Review, among others. His work has also been selected for Best American Poetry and the Pushcart Prize.
Jānis Rokpelnis (b. 1945) Poet, essayist and script writer. First published in 1968, he has subsequently won the Baltic Assembly Literary Prize (2000) and the Aleksandars Čaks Award (2001). His work has been translated into more than 20 languages, and he translates primarily from Russian. Formerly a Senior Research Associate at the Riga Museum of Art, he has been an editor of several periodicals, including Karogs. Currently he is writing a biography of Knuts Skujenieks.
Māra Rozītis (b. 1952) Born in Australia and currently living in Stockholm, she is an actress, theater director, playwright. She translates a number of Latvian poets into English, including Kronbergs and Belševica.
Māris Salējs (b. 1971) A poet, critic and translator, primarily from Polish, Ukrainian and Russian, he was first published in 1994. His awards include the Anna Dagda Award (2001) for his second volume of poetry. An editor at Luna, a literary journal, and co-editor for the Latvian feature in Howling Dog Press internet journal, Omega, he is a librarian at the Academy of Culture in Riga. His birth name is Marians Rižijs.
Luci Shaw is a poet, essayist, teacher and retreat leader. Born in England in 1928, she has lived in Australia and Canada, and since 1950 in the U. S. Author of a number of prose books and eight volumes of poetry, including Writing the River, The Angles of Light, The Green Earth, and Water Lines, she is Writer in Residence at Regent College, Vancouver, Canada. Her most recent book is The Crime of Living Cautiously (InterVarsity Press). Forthcoming from Eerdmans in 2006 is a volume of her poetry Accompanied by Angels: Poems of the Incarnation, from WordFarm a book of new poems What the Light Was Like, and from Paraclete Press an illustrated children's book, The Genesis of It All. Musical settings for many of her poems have been composed by Knut Nystedt, Alice Parker, Frederick Frahm and Allen Cline. She lives in Bellingham, WA, with her husband John Hoyte. Luci's website is www.lucishaw.com.
Knuts Skujenieks (b. 1936) A poet and translator, he is considered one of the finest Latvian poets. In 1962 in Soviet-Latvia, he was sentenced to seven years in a hard labor camp in Mordova, Russia for high treason, a charge resulting from meetings with other young dissident intellectuals. Although he began writing poetry as early as the 1950s, his books did not appear until 1978 and poems written in the labor camp were published in the 1990s, after Latvian independence. His eight-volume collected works is published by Nordik Publishers. He translates from many languages, including the folksongs of most European countries. Among his numerous awards are the Tomas Transtromer Prize (Sweden, 1998), the Order of the Three Stars (Latvia, 1995) and for his translations, Commander of the Catholic Order of Isabel (Spain, 1994) and the Gedimino Order (Lithuania, 2001).
Teofil Stanciu Born in 1978 in Oradea (North West Romania), Teofil Stanciu graduated in 2003 from the University of Oradea with a double degree in Romanian Language and Literature/ Theology. He has taught for one year and his work has appeared in two anthologies. In 2004 he received a poetry prize at the Lucian Blaga International Festival.
Lucija Stupica (19.5.1971) lives in Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, writes poetry, articles about architecture and design, and works as interior designer. She has published her poems in all major Slovenian literary magazines (Literatura, Nova revija, Sodobnost). Her first book of poetry Celo na soncu (Cello in the Sun) was published by the Beletrina, Student publishing house, in 2001. It won the award of the 17th Slovenian Book Fair for the best first book and the Zlata ptica (Golden Bird) award for the best artistic achievement. Stupica's new book of poetry Vetrolov was published in May 2004. A collection of the poems from both books will be published at Meandar Publishing house, Zagreb, Croatia in 2005. Her poetry is included in the anthology Ten Slovenian Poets of the Nineties. She is a member of PEN and Slovene Writers' Association. Stupica participated in the festival Days of Poetry and Wine in Medana, the International festival of Poetry in Cartagena de Indias (2001), the International Literary Gathering Valenica (2002) and Goranovo prolječe in Croatia (2003 and 2004). She participated in the International Poetry Festival in Gotland, Sweden and was a scholar at the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators in 2004. She was a member of City of Poets, which was organized for Dublin Writers Festival, June 2004. Some of her poems have been translated into English, German, Swedish, Finnish, Polish, Italian, Croatian and Spanish, and she has read at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Mária Szende teaches English for Specific Purposes, Cross-Cultural Management and Translation Techniques at the School of Business and Economics, University of Pécs. She has co-translated and co-published with Len Roberts more than a hundred of Sándor Kanyádi's poems into English.
J.C. Todd's poems and translations have appeared in the anthology Shade 2004, and in The Paris Review, APR, RUNES, Crab Orchard Review and other journals as well as on-line in Verse Daily. Pine Press published her chapbooks: Nightshade (1995) and Entering Pisces (1985). Awards include a fellowship in poetry from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, two awards from The Leeway Foundation, a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts international artist exchange fellowship to the Schloss Wiepersdorf colony in Germany and a scholarship to the Baltic Center for Writers and Translators in Sweden. She has previously edited a feature on contemporary Lithuanian poetry for TDB and was guest poetry editor for the Summer 2005 issue of The Bucks Country Review. A lecturer in Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College in the spring of 2006, she has an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
Kārlis Vērdiņš (b. 1979) Poet, critic and translator. He has published translations of William Carlos Williams, H. D., Virginia Woolf and T. S. Eliot. His two collections of poetry are Ledlauzi (Icebreakers) (2001) and Biezpiens ar krejumu (Cottage Cheese with Cream) (2004).
Lászlo Vertes , who was a student of Len Roberts (when Roberts was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Pecs in 1988), is a professional translator in English, German, Hungarian and French for the European Union. He and Len Roberts have translated about two hundred of Sándor Csoóri's poems in the past seventeen years.
Jeanne Murray Walker's most recent book of poetry is A Deed To the Light, available from The University of Illinois Press. For Jeanne's website, go to: www.english.udel.edu/jwalker /
Māra Zālīte (b. 1952) Born in Siberia where her parents had been deported by the Soviets, she returned to Latvia in 1956. A poet, essayist, playwright, and librettist for opera and rock musicals, she has been editor-in-chief of Karogs and was the director of the National Language Commission in Latvia. She is presently president of the copyright agency AKKA/LAA. Her rock opera Lacplesis (Bearslayer) (1988) was one of the mobilizing forces in the Singing Rebellion that led to Latvia's renewed independence. Her awards include The Order of Three Stars (1995), the Mayakovsky Award (1982), the Aspazija Award (1992) and the Herder Award (Germany, 1993). Sun Stroke in the Dark, Margita Gailitis' English translation of Zālīte's selected poems, was recently published by Atena (2005).
Inese Zandere (b. 1958) Poet, children's author and the editor of the monthly magazine, Rigas Laiks. Her 3 volumes of poetry include Melnās čūskas maiznica (The Black Snake's Bakery) which collects her poems from the past fifteen years; it received the Latvian Poetry Prize (2003).
Imants Ziedonis (b. 1933) A prolific poet, his poetry is widely translated; Flowers of Ice, translated by Barry Callaghan, was published in Canada. He has published almost twenty volumes of poetry in Latvia. A formative thinker on Latvian culture, he writes non-fiction about rural Latvian life and culture as well as tales for children for which he received the Hans Christian Anderson Award (Denmark). Among his many awards is The Order of the Three Stars (1995). A deputy in the Latvian Parliament in the 1990s, he has held numerous significant cultural positions.
Pēteris Zirnītis (b. 1944; d. 2001) Poet, publisher, former Director of the Latvian Museum of Literature and Art History and Vice President of Latvian PEN. He has published seven volumes of poetry. As founding publisher of Nordik, he has focused on publishing translations of poetry.