Review: The Holy Automatic

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The Holy Automatic

Various Authors
BETEP International
Street: 01.15

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