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Rick van der Made’s Poetic Tribute to Love

by our Editors in Films & Books , 15 februari 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

On the 25th of March, Heimdall publishers will present Rick van der Made’s third poetry collection at the Zaantheater in Zaandam: “Het jaar van de arend” (The Year of the Eagle). In this book, Van der Made’s poems are preceded by short stories and accompanied by photographs by the Amsterdam photographer Jan van Breda.

“Het jaar van de arend” recounts a year in the life of Van der Made in a funny and light-hearted way, in which past and present are cleverly intertwined. Thus, a beautiful (and tender) image of a gay man growing up is outlined.

Van der Made (Breda, 1968) grew up in a Catholic family in the province of Noord-Brabant in the southern part of the Netherlands. The mother was a retired nun whose exuberance and zest for life increasingly suffered from severe depression. Out of the four children, three are homosexual. The only heterosexual sister marries a Kurdish intellectual who had to flee from Turkey in the late 1980s.

“Escaping” and “coming home” are favorite themes of Van der Made, whose mother had to flee the Netherlands in the Second World War. His partner is an Armenian-Syrian refugee from Aleppo, thriving and happy in the Netherlands.

Van der Made is an excellent storyteller who takes the reader with him to Tel Aviv and Agadir, as well as the countryside of Noord-Brabant. The more serious tone of the poems and the probing photographs give the collection its completeness: the story and the poem about being gay in Morocco becomes stunningly moving with the photo of the Pietà showing the Moroccan-Dutch Saïd in the arms of drag queen Amy Huiswijn.

In the title story (“Anne-Lise and the Eagle”) the writer combines a narrative account, poetry and photography with the music of the French singer Barbara to describe the death (“the ultimate escape or the ultimate homecoming?”) of his mother.  

“Het jaar van de arend” is the author’s tribute to love. Love for a loving and tolerant family, for dear friends, for a tolerant society. Rick van der Made lives in Zaanstad, owns hotel Freeland in the centre of Amsterdam, and is the author of the books of poetry “Wereldreiziger” and “Memoires van Huisman.”

“Het jaar van de arend” is available from March 25 onwards, and can be ordered from all bookshops, on-line sales points, and at Heimdall (




In the New Issue of Gay News, 332, April 2019

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