Poetry International Poetry International

Jules Deelder

Jules Deelder

Jules Deelder

(The Netherlands, 1944 - 2019)

Jules Deelder was in more than one way an iconic poet.  As a master of directness, he knew how to strike the heart, the essence of our existence, to cherish life with humor and verbal playfulness and to mock complacency. A poet of style, the personification of Deelderschap, a combination of sharpness, swing and sagacity that no other poet could and can match.As early as 1966, at the great Dutch poetry event Poëzie in Carré, his quality as a performer was clear, a quality that he has shown throughout his life.

December 19, 2019, Jules Deelder passed away. His passing is a big blow to Dutch and Rotterdam poetry. Generations of poets and performers know they’re standing on the shoulders of this remarkable poet. For Poetry International too, his death means a great loss. We are grateful that we were able to bring Jules Deelder on stage during the last  edition of our festival, for the eleventh time and still in full glory and with his usual energy. An always human poet who ultimately also had to undergo the fate of every person.

Jan Baeke, Poetry International

Jules Deelder is undoubtedly one of the Netherlands’ best-known poets. He owes much of his fame to public appearances, in which he combines a dandyish pose with a curious mixture of popular city humor and irony, dished up in an uncut Rotterdam accent. He is arguably the godfather of Dutch performance poets.

There is an unmistakable link between Deelder’s poetry and the Dutch ultra-realists of the 1950s, and an even stronger kinship with the carefree anarchism of the 1960s. Many of his poems are on an exciting collision course with established taste. Apparently, Jules Deelder has found the recipe for successfully combining a deadpan exterior and crass realism with the comic effect of irony. He calls himself a ‘neon realist’, a ‘neon romantic’ and a ‘neon comedian’. Deelder has a rare command of register, mimicking the language of soaps as effortlessly as that of military rhetoric or the quasi-profound verbiage of esoteric or antiquated cultures. He does this in his poetry as well as in his prose, which never fails to betray the poet.

Deelder’s work often tends toward cabaret, but was not cabaret the mainspring of a movement like Dadaism? With the Dadaists he shares a fondness for the absurd, born from a relentless defiance of established high art. He has thus made of himself a kind of enfant terrible of the Dutch poetic scene, but one that cannot be ignored. Several of his poems have achieved the status of ‘modern classic’, and if he is not one of the Netherlands’ most read poets, he certainly is one of the most heard.

© Rob Schouten / Jan Baeke (Translated by Ko Kooman)

Selected bibliography


Gloria Satoria, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1969 
Dag en nacht geopend, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1970
Op de deurknop na, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1972
De zwarte jager, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1973
Moderne gedichten, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1979
Sturm und Drang, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1980
Junkers 88, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1983
Portret van Olivia de Havilland, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1985
Interbellum, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1987
Renaissance: gedichten ’44-’94, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1994
Transeuropa, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1995
Het lot van de eenhoorn, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1997
Bejblesch, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1999
N.V. Verga, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2001
Zonder Dollen, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2004
Vrijwel alle gedichten, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2004
Tussentijds, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2008
Ruisch, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2011
Het Graf van Descartes, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2013
Rotterdamse Kost, CPNB, Amsterdam 2017


The Dutch Windmill, Veen, Utrecht, 1980
Modern Passé, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1984
Gemengde gevoelens, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1986
Jazz, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1992
Vrijwel alle verhalen, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2009


In Dutch:

Jules Deelder's website: www.deelder.com

Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Gefinancierd door de Europese Unie
Elise Mathilde Fonds
Stichting Verzameling van Wijngaarden-Boot
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère