Stylinaut is a portmanteau term for a modern-day astronaut turned stylite (or ascetic “pillar dwelling” saint). This figure, who is at once within and without our present moment in time, commits to writing as he ascends—and lives upon—the tiers of a desert pillar. It is a hybrid collection of philosophy/poetics that encodes seven separate but interrelated sections consisting of meditative fragments, experimental fiction, poems, and aphorisms. The book focuses on the liminal movement of the stylinaut’s alternating experience of dukkhic suffering and its corollary nirvanic bliss, with the ascent culminating at seventy-seven feet above the ground, and ultimately asks us to speculatively open ourselves to the maximal densities of life and all the strangeness/sweetness it tends to encapsulate.
Brad Baumgartner is the author of several works, including Stylinaut (Spuyten Duyvil), The –Tempered Mid·riff: A Play in Four Parts (Schism - Neuronics), Celeste: Our Lady of Flowering Marvel (Spuyten Duyvil), Quantum Mechantics: Memoirs of a Quark (The Operating System), and a monograph entitled Weird Mysticism: Philosophical Horror and the Mystical Text (Lehigh University Press). He currently teaches English at Penn State University.