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Gay News : Publications : Issue 263 : De Mérode Weekend with Biographer Hans Werkman

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De Mérode Weekend with Biographer Hans Werkman

by our Editors in Films & Books , 15 juli 2013

The poems by Willem de Mérode (pseudonym of Willem Eduard Keuning, 1887-1939) are full of tension between an impossible earthly love, and the love of God. Willem de Mérode was considered to be the best protestant poet of his generation.

As a young poet, he was open about his preference for boys, but as a rule would reject the possibility of a sexual relationship. This is what his biographer Hans Werkman continues to claim, despite of the fact that the poet had to appear in court in April 1924. He was charged with “intentional lewd acts with the under-aged boys Jakob Kamp and Jacob Bakker of the same sex during the years 1922-1924, whose minority he was aware of, by continuously and lewdly touching and pulling the naked manhood of the before mentioned boys, or by taking their manhood in his mouth, and sucking it.”

In the end, the judge ruled that it was “proven by clear and convincing evidence” that Keuning “at different times in 1924 deliberately committed lewd acts with the under-aged boy Jacob Kamp [...] by touching the naked manhood of the boy, as was his responsibility for this act.” The court cleared him of other accusations, but sent him to prison for eight months for these proven criminal acts.

The poet had been sued for both masturbation and oral sex with two boys, but was only convicted for masturbating Jacob Kamp. However, this does not say much about his actual sex life.

During an De Mérode weekend on August 2-3, 2013, his poems will be read and discussed with Hans Werkman present, who, in this third edition of his biography titled “Bitterzoete overvloed: De wereld van Willem de Mérode” shows the world of the poet De Mérode. Participants will discuss his life and work, mainly focusing on his boys poems, his religious poems, and his Chinese poems. A unique television documentary about his life will also be shown, and in Eerbeek, participants will visit his house and his grave.

  De Mérode weekend, August 2-3, 2013
Costs of the weekend: € 195,- per person, including stay (full-board).
Reservations: +31-(0)577-498111 or
Visit under “zomercursussen” for more information.

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In the New Issue of Gay News, 311, July 2017

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