The Holy Automatic

“This is an assemblage of poetry supposedly inspired by the bible. The person who edited this describes it as “a compilation of cutups, redacted poetry, and automatic writing all culled from the bible.” Much of it appears legitimately sincere and reminiscent of the psalms. It’s well-written and at times beautiful, but there is a part of me that wonders how this all came together and if it is entirely serious. There is an infomercial for The Holy Automatic I found on YouTube and it is cheesy, as though they are poking fun at the bible and christianity. I can’t decide if it is really “holy” or not. But just to be on the safe side, to counteract any religious sincerity, I’m listening to Slayer as I write this review.” –Kurt Morris, Razorcake

“Despite being a non-religious fellow, there have been a few times in my life when I really envy people who are well-versed in the Bible. Though, no duh, shame on me for not being so. The shit’s canon. Regardless, this zine presents a brilliant concept on the complicated relationship between poetry, words and their relationship to “the truth.” Beginning with a statement from (whom I’m guessing is fictional, though it’s wonderfully unclear) “Rev. Dr. Lee Busch, D.D., Tri-County Youth Pastor,” the collection asks us to consider these poems as modern stand-ins for biblical scripture. Busch explains, “You are holding in your very hands the most recent divinations from the Lord.” And why not? Each poem in this text references specific biblical verses which are sometimes serious re-creations and sometimes outright parody. Whether or not you find the content offensive, enlightening or hilarious, your reaction is not really the point. The accomplishment of The Holy Automatic is that any poem in this text forces you to confront whether or not their re-creation is an adequate replacement for the original—which is impossible to decide without interpretational bias. Thus, the book reveals the profound, centurieslong Judeo-Christian problem of trying to impose poetry onto reality. My advice: Pick this up alongside a Bible and go back and forth. Who knows? You might just get divinely inspired.” –Nic Smith, SLUG Magazine

The Holy Automatic is a compilation of Christian poems, each titled with a book of the bible, “The Book of Isaiah 14,” “Ecclesiastes” and so on. Although the collection includes a forward by a certain Rev. Dr. Lee A. Busch, D.D, it is unclear whether it is honestly meant as new, religious writing or “scriptures” as the Reverend suggests, or whether it is a parody of these. Either way, the poems remain staunchly loyal to a heavy-handed biblical rhetorical that is neither relevant to a 21 st century readership nor providing a critical or humorous take on Christian subject matter. Instead, these poems supposedly intend to “guide you through the trials and tribulations of this foul and multifarious 21 st century,” reminding you persistently of your “vices” and “sins”; it seems offensive that “when a woman gives / birth to a boy, she shall be / unclean…if she gives birth to a girl, she / shall be unclean” (Keegan Cameron). Archaic diction adds insult to injury: “thou hast not called upon me. / O Jacob, but thou hast been weary of me” (Dove A.). Perhaps a devoutly religious readership of a fire and brimstone-style denomination might enjoy these poems, but beyond this niche, they serve little literary purpose.” –Klara du Plessis, Broken Pencil

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