Adam Samuel Litovitz
AUGUST 17, 1982 – JUNE 16, 2019
North York born and Toronto-based son of revered poet Malca Litovitz, née Halpern, and architect Allan Litovitz, Adam was a writer, musician, and visual artist of insight and imagination. He was a professor of English and film studies, cultural philosopher, and film and literary journalist (New York Magazine/Vulture, CBC Radio One, Random House Canada, The Globe and Mail). Adam graduated from York University (Master of Arts, English) and was the Graduate Recipient of the Guy Hamel Award in Renaissance Literature from the University of Toronto.
For over twelve years, Adam was the beloved life partner and collaborator of Sook-Yin Lee. They released two music albums: JOOJ and jooj two – and composed the original scores for her feature movies – Year of the Carnivore and Octavio is Dead! Adam served as Sook-Yin’s story editor for both films. They pursued myriad other creative adventures, including the experimental dance narratives How Can I Forget? and Sphere of Banished Suffering. Adam wrote and recorded the theme song for the podcast SleepoverCBC and co-created the original score for a Netflix TV series with music producer Onakabazien. Adam Litovitz wrote the manuscript Kinship of the Overheard, edited by Sky Goodden. He made wonderful drawings that tap into that which is deep, simple, and true. These are his selected works.
WU-PEDAGOGUES: THE COMPLIMENTARY TAO(S) OF HIP HOP AND THE ASIAN TRADITION: PART OF TALKING SONGS, PRESENTED AT DOUBLE DOUBLE LAND | SEPTEMBER 15, 2010
TRYING TO UNDERSTAND BILL COSBY'S STAND-UP NOW: PUBLISHED IN VULTURE | NOVEMBER 20, 2014
ALL 57 ELVIS PRESLEY ALBUMS RANKED FROM WORST TO BEST: PUBLISHED IN VULTURE | MARCH 21, 2016
BREAKING DOWN BOB DYLAN'S LONGSTANDING LOVE OF COVER SONGS: PUBLISHED IN VULTURE | MAY 19, 2016
RANKING ALL 16 MICHAEL CRICHTON NOVELS: PUBLISHED IN VULTURE | JUNE 11, 2015
PUBLISHED IN HAZLITT | 2012
Adam and Sook-Yin would watch a movie, then talk about it while recording the conversation. Adam transcribed and edited what was said with surprising revelations.
Illustration by Chester Brown
SAYING GOODBYE TO OPINIONS, HELLO TO FEELINGS
Saying goodbye to opinions, hello to feelings,
Goodbye to feelings, hello to grievings,
Hello to greetings, goodbye to meetings,
Farewell to teethings, hello to teethings,
Goodbye to pleasing, hello to pleasing,
Hell of a sweet thing, hell of a sweet thing,
Heavenly beating, devilish seething,
Goodbye to needing, wanting, and waiting,
Hello to making, hello to great things,
Goodbye to awful, eyeful, unthoughtful,
Hello to thinking, and thinking without thinking,
Just being, and being, and letting being be,
Grieving be, even needing be,
Leaving needing there, nowhere there, never bare, always scared, making fine, fine oh fine,
I'll do the time, draw the line, make it mine,
Mine of mine but theirs always theirs, always ours, beneath the bows, here we are, all these
scars, closing up, open wounds, open up, closing wounds, will you be asking me, asking me,
asking, is this so, is this necessarily so, and I don't know, no idea no, but i move to the place,
that place, the place, and i make my space, my fine space, i take my place and i sit down and i
don't move and i let it swirl and it dawns on me.
There must have been one expression i've used that you've liked.
Okay, maybe not liked.
There must have been one moment,
which you've liked and that i've had a part in.
I'm not asking you to make a claim for me.
No, i wouldn't do that.
But i'm asking you to trust me.
That's it, trust.
Would you ask me a question if you had a chance to?
What would you ask?
No, I can't ask that of you.
This requires nearness.
We talk, or have spoken before.
We intend to.
You aren't close enough yet.
There is something further away,
not near. Not even close.
It needs to be nearer.
I need it.
I can't tolerate this distance.
It's unbearable. It can't be helped, I know.
But still, you could do something about it.
Make something happen, and if you decide to, yes, in fact,
make it happen, then do it now.
WE ADJUST TO THE CHEMICALS
We adjust to the chemicals
not impervious to commotion
or the clarity that persists
the time of fecundity
what image will it awaken?
and why is this the time of fecundity,
you softly speak
not wanting to imprison yourself in any particular green before realizing it must identify itself as such
and you didn't want this burden
or you did
and you mathematically convince yourself of either cause
I wanted this long truth and was offered a shortness of breath
a palpitating inability to murmur
when pacing around is the good sign
of the good son
I note with firmness
rechanneling your energy into nothingness