Made Beautiful by Use

Made Beautiful by Use



About the book

In these remarkable worldly poems, Sean Horlor questions the nature of praise, recasts the seven basic tenets of Christianity, and retells the stories of saints’ lives. Belief, faith, hope, loss…Can what we believe in be reduced to signs that prove existence? Horlor questions what constitutes faith in a time when too many have stopped believing.

About the author

Horlor, Sean

Sean Horlor was born in Edmonton and lived in Victoria for many years before making Vancouver his home. After earning a BFA from the University of Victoria, he worked in a number of public relations positions, including as a speechwriter in the Premier's office of British Columbia. He currently works in the public relations field in Vancouver. He also models and continues to write poetry and articles for a variety of publications. After a number of unsuccessful career attempts, such as a go-go dancer, a corporate executive, a William Shatner fan, and a professional heckler, Horlor realized poetry is his calling. He has published his poetry widely in literary journals, including Arc, Event, The Fiddlehead, Grain, Pine Magazine, THIS Magazine, The Claremont Review, Inner Harbour Review, and The Malahat Review. His poem "In Praise of Beauty" won first place in This Magazine's 2006 Great Canadian Literary Hunt and was an Editor's Choice in Arc's International Poem of the Year contest. Made Beautiful by Use is his first collection of poetry.


In Praise of What is Found Again

The sea obeys and fetters break
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore
While treasures lost are found again
When young or old thine aid implore

- Responsory of St. Anthony

The newspapers herald
this is the age of the individual.

Weeks pass and disgorge
the lost marginalia of my existence:

keys, that ever-elusive sock's return from AWOL,
a promise ring from years ago

when such symbols could steady the earth
with the pause and lustre of a loose, earth-quaked clear.

The present is a contemplation of what is:
bearded men hawking once-upon-a-times,

mis-strung guitars and braided everythings
the sidewalks studded with beggars,

their empty hats like hearts.
To romantics, Main St. is made beautiful by use:

the dark-carved street during
midsummer brownouts; suspended,

the smog's particulate trumpets
through our lungs. Like fingerprints,

every tongue-print is different.
This is for what comes to us

through language: sun-struck, modern
a demonstration of gunmetal, of words that gleam.


St. Brendan and the Isle of Weeping

The first fountain was still, silty
with the red dust of this place, it incandesced
under the last of the autumn sky like a rusted shield.

Soundless, the next seeped from rock
in a braid of many blues to a pool darker
than the ring around the brown of Brendan's eye.

All around him: wind counting palm fronds,
the tide slipping from the shore.
Forty days sailing without rain

yet he could not drink from either water.
At dusk, the crickets filled his head with sorrow.
It was then he heard the silence of the two fountains

for what it was: to know the sound of the cricket
in autumn is to know that suffering

in its human form should remain unheard.



–after Lorna Crozier

I make important decisions with help
from a simple can of Alphagetti
by composing earth-shaking sales offers
in sauce-stained hues:
Other mornings, I aim for the Descartes-esque:
Yes, the alphabet is making an all-caps comeback
à la Heinz and you can't blame the other
multinationals for elbowing in:
C for Coca-Cola Company;
F for Ford...
I'll admit it was my J'adore Dior t-shirt
that convinced me to attempt
to sell my name on eBay
for just enough venture capital
to buy a swirl cone at McDonalds.
Still, I'm getting better at owning what I say:
letter by letter, the bill
for my every word's exact worth
slowly adding up.


Alvuquerque Barrio

–transposition from "President Bush Meets with First-Time Homebuyers in NM and AZ" March 26, 2004

When you landed, the intended plenty
shrunk into one discouraging moment:
you fell to the ground and it met you like a husband,
shorelined you to this part of the world
permanently. Bright soil. No bushes.

No welcoming band to put a tear in the eye either.
The airplane returned to Mexico.
To reason the past three years went with it
seemed acceptable as the city crowds moved
backward under popping cables, junk everywhere.

Madmen on TV screens share terror.
The savings you had put aside were enough
to buy a telephone, yet your pockets
filled with ideas instead of quarters:
the role of the individual is to own a dream

A house is like a cowboy hat,
good for courage, but in the end
practical as a relative in Mexico:
something to save money for,
then abandon when broke.


Made Beautiful By Use is Sean Horlor's first collection of poems. Horlor uses several saints as well as The Seven Heavenly Virtues to organize his poetic creating and experience. The first part of the book, however, is under the heading… >>

— Carmelo Militano Prairie Fire

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