The Hazlitt Offensive: Adam Sol

By Hazlitt

Our new, trademark-pending, Hazlitt questionnaire.

Adam Sol is a poet and writer and the Associate Professor of English and Laurentian University in Barrie, Ontario. His collection Jeremiah, Ohio—wherein Sol reinvents the Biblical prophet and sends him on a roadtrip through the U.S.—was shortlisted for Ontario’s Trillium Award for Poetry. His collection of lyrical poems on music, Crowd of Sounds, won the award in 2004. His new collection, Complicity, will be released later this month.

1. What are three words you associate with your first relationship?
Bryan Ferry. Lauren perfume. Dormitories.

2. What’s the worst thing you ever did for money?
I answered phones at a dial-a-mortgage company. “Sorry, you don’t have enough equity in your home to qualify…” It was worse than factory work, which I’ve also done—in a factory, though, you’re making something, even if it’s something ridiculous. And you can let your mind wander. The dial-a-mortgage place was a gathering place for human misery and confusion.

3. What is your least favourite song?
“Light One Candle.”

4. What is your favourite song?
I have dozens. Loving Idan Raichel’s latest album now, and an older one by Brad Mehldau. And Bach’s “Prelude and Fugue in c minor.” And an eternal soft spot for “Hideous Towns” from The Sundays’ first album, circa 1989.

5. What’d you have for breakfast this morning?
Tea and cereal. Almost tea IN my cereal. But thankfully, not.

6. How do you feel about Joni Mitchell?
I have never met Joni Mitchell.

7. How did you learn what sex was?
I had a proper sit-down with my father and he explained all these things that I pretended I knew already. Then he pretended that he believed me.

8. Where do you imagine all our lost T-shirts go?
To my sons.

9. Who do you consider the funniest person in the world—that we would know?
Sarah Silverman. I suppose we could think of Vladimir Putin as very funny, but in a way that isn’t very funny.

10. What’s the worst insult you’ve ever said?
This wasn’t exactly an insult but I was once talking to a friend who is half-Japanese and I was trying to call someone else either a “goof” or a “geek,” but what came out of my mouth was “gook.” I’ll never get that slip back, although I think she forgave me. I did refuse to shake someone’s hand recently.

11. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever been called?
Once or twice when I was a kid I was called a kike or something like that, but it’s not so memorable. As an overeager teenager I was once called an “octopus” by a less eager make-out partner. I was slapped once for trying to prevent a drunk friend from an extramarital liaison. That was dumb, because the guy just went and screwed someone else anyway.

12. What’s a deal breaker for someone you’re in a relationship or in love with?
I’ve been married for 18 years. For me, if there’s a “deal breaker” then it isn’t exactly a marriage, is it? There is no line to cross. We are a team. The lines that are to be crossed we cross together.

13. What’s something you do every night before bed?
Brush my teeth, then try to read, but more likely review the day with my wife. I’m not a great bedtime reader.

Next

Finding New Ways to Hide in Plain Sight
The body is a text. To communicate with another human being is to consider them as a book. Unable to see into their souls, we encounter others as collections of signs: a smirk or a crinkle around the eyes, a hand placed on a cheek—words upon words as we try, in futility, to express to one another what we think and feel. The soul may be irreducible, but to be human is to reduce it nonetheless. How, then, should we feel now that the text of the body has become machine-readable?

Previous

Songs From The Mines: Making Music Out Of Tragedy
Every week Carl Wilson looks at the events of the past seven days in the mirror of art and culture. This week: Farewell to Springhill, Nova Scotia.