Michael Stewart is currently the Rhode Island Council for the Arts Fellow in both fiction and poetry. He is the author of A Brief Encyclopedia of Modern Magic, Almost Perfect Forms, The Hieroglyphics, and Sebastian, an illustrated book for adults. He lectures at Brown University.
"A more certain world does not make for a less terrifying one in Michael Stewart’s astonishing & grave book of wisdoms & codes & laws & rites & rituals & charms. Gather: A sparrow is burning. Gather: There is news of the soul."
"Michael Stewart tackles nothing less than a radical revision of creation myths that comments darkly on the ancient stories we have received & the future we may be facing. Stewart’s language is spare & haunting, the allusions resonating, in this work that 'reminds us how pale are the achievements of men.'”
Michael Stewart’s The Hieroglyphics is a book we had to publish, & here’s why: We are our roots, and books that take those roots, both linguistic and visual, and churn them / crank them / rev them up into something modern and lyrical and rife, that is what drives Mud Luscious Press forward.
Michael Stewart came to us with The Hieroglyphics in its completed manuscript form, headed by the following description (read disclaimer):
“Horapollo Niliacus, who most likely never existed, wrote the original Hieroglyphica. It was a collection of some 189 interpretations of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, which were entirely, & unintentionally, fallacious. The collection was divided into two books, the first — the one I am using in the excellent Boas translation — dealt with seventy hieroglyphics & the second book with the remaining 119.
Using Horapollo’s original chapter titles & order, as well as incorporating many of his sentences with my own, I have attempted to engage in a kind of conversation. To this end, I have also incorporated lines from the Book of Jubilees, the Book of Enoch & the Old Testament among others.
I apologize to Boas, Horapollo, & the unknown writers of those other books for what I have done to their work.”
I immediately dug in and was astounded by what he had carved out of and from these baseline texts. Michael Stewart has done in The Hieroglyphics not mere translation or redefining but the building of a new world from a previous one without losing or burying or wrecking the story.
Michael Stewart has nothing to apologize for: These hieroglyphics that he read and then rendered into words mount until they topple over and through us. Mud Luscious Press will forever be grateful to have had a small hand in the largeness of our collective history.