Poetry Zine Review: The Holy Automatic

The Holy Automatic: Selections of the First Council from the Old and New Testaments

Poetry zine, various authors, unpaginated, The Betep International


Holy-Automatic-800x480The 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)