"The Buddhists might say that the soul of a secretive and unique poet had transferred itself to a no less peculiar and secretive bird of the night?" This is how a contemporary remember the burial of Alexandrs ?aks, in February 1950. He was born in 1901 under the name of Alexandra ?adarainis . Raised in an environment, which protected him from the external world, he studied medicine first in Moscow, and later in Riga, and then worked as a teacher, a journalist and even as a bank employee. Well-educated and very self-confident, even superior, in his behavior, he directed a poetry newspaper, "Jauno Lira", by which he sought to oppose what he called the "frozen and apathetic nature" of Latvian literature. Indeed, he entered the field of literature at the time of independence of Latvia, when cultural life seemed conventional and stagnant.
[...] In a second time, it allows to observe the passionate identification of the poet to the urban life, and especially to the city of Riga. Čaks was the very first urban poet in the Latvian literature, that is to say the first to locate his poems in an urban environment and to describe the activities of a big city. This is a real cut with the previous traditional atmospheres of poetry, usually situated in natural environments and raising the nature as the main inspiration of the poet. [...]
[...] bunch of last year's heater in a vase», and a «footstool» in a flowerpot compose his garden. There are no rivers or lakes in the cities but “gutters” and “puddles”. In order to make his description explicit, he is using a restrictive vocabulary, such as river bigger than and many negative signs, to explain what is not in the city. As he assumed, there is trace of nature”, but the only things, which could be associated to it, are part of the garbage, like “orange peel” or “radish leaves”. [...]
[...] According to the poet, the whole urban structures seem to be disorganized and messy. From the streets emanate odours, the humidity is everywhere and garbage, tires and burnt rubber” are just “dumped in the yard” summer night in the city). The placards, which he considers as the and “sacraments” of the city (Placards), are flying in the wind and pressing on him from “every corner, gate and “coming even closer than harlots at midnight”. He describes “crooked bumpy streets” (hemmed in the Walls) and the “thin and gaunt” drainpipes as a huge snake running on the walls. [...]
[...] This point is obviously shown in Mūžības skartie. Furthermore, the identification of the poet to the city goes along his life. The “thin and gaunt” “Drainpipe”, which is trying to escape from the streets, seems to endure the misery as the author who wants to escape the noises and the crowds. The placards are then the “best recipe book” for his “hurried heart” and stairs help him to raise his mind up, because climbing makes him forget about his body (Stairs). [...]
[...] Already mentioned, the night watchman and some car, or benches in spring time are added to the kiosks, the first thing you can see in the morning, as warming and stabilizing elements, which comfort the author in his dark and moistened descriptions. More than that, it is silence, “cool breath”, whispers” and which “gently rustle” that he finds in poem about a coachman”. This stability is reinforced by the feeling of soft strength coming from the and grizzled” Riga, perceived as a still, peaceful old person. It is indeed to Riga that goes Čaks affection, or we should say love. We can observe a kind of identification process between him and the city, which dates back to his childhood. [...]
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