In the The Automatic Oracle, Peter Porter’s second book since his Collected Poems (1983), this writer is at the height of his powers as a versatile, intelligent, and provocative voice of our times. He is a resistance fighter against false prophecies by disc jockeys, bureaucrats, businessmen, lawyers, academics, politicians and others. Such utterances must be scrutinised or ridiculed because they muddy the language itself, the sources of all oracular wisdom and the hero of this book.
‘Magazines and newspapers in Australian literature’ is a more troublesome subject than it may at first sight appear. Within its scope lurk issues and problems that preoccupy and sometimes bedevil much Australian literary criticism and cultural commentary. Indeed, the method and content of this book provide a helpful approach to those perennial issues.