Caravaggio's Dagger

Caravaggio's Dagger: A Pursuit of Right Action
September 2013

Many come to evil; many others search for a different way to be. Animated by the work of Caravaggio, Hendrik Slegtenhorst's poems inquire, what is a pursuit of right action? Caravaggio, the murderous, brilliant 16th-century painter, depicted the decapitation of John the Baptist at the moment the act is botched: jugular severed, head attached, the saint in agony - an exemplification of humanity's predilections. Early on, Slegtenhorst accepted Somerset Maugham's admonition of the error of adopting a course of action thought to be right, even though we knew it could not bring us happiness, ever. This is the central theme to Caravaggio's Dagger, a distillation of poems from several earlier books that measures aspects of the author's own life and awareness as a distinct individual animated by Canada and culture and guided by integrity and reason.