That Fresh Sound: Modern Poetry, Kanye West, And Shaking Your Mind Out of Its Rut

Presented with JWALK

Def Jam Kanye West Yeezus Cover

This Olio will discuss a book that is specifically charged to break the mind out of cliché and into a perpetual freshness of language – and maybe cure writer’s block. 

That book is John Ashbery’s A Wave and the 20 page title poem, in Ashbery’s words “has the form of an argument without the content.” The strings of words lack ordinary stable referents but its language and something like ideas flow past, like water, often sounding right, before you have had a chance to know what was said. 

It is persuasive in the way instrumental music is persuasive and I will be bringing both symphony music and a surprising amount of Kanye West (including his most recent album) as parallels, as I explain the weird funny abstract wisdom of this poem that will never allow you to see language the same way again.


Complimentary food by &pizza as well as drinks by Viva32 Tequila.


Recommended reading from Penguin Press:

Upstream by Mary Oliver

“A tremendously vitalizing read…grounding and elevating at the same time.” —Brain Pickings   




Location: JWALK

419 Park Ave South 16TH FLOOR New York, NY - 10016

JWALK is a full-service creative agency with an in-house content studio.  


Other upcoming Olios


Nov 26

*Olio Seminar* The Evolution of Racism

Taught by Angie Beeman
3 p.m. at Neuehouse Madison Sq.

Sign Up - $50

Nov 29

Asteroids Approaching: Delivering Life & Death

Taught by Michael Hamburg
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $12

Dec 4

*Olio Seminar* The Rise and Fall of the American Republic

Taught by Ward Regan
7:30 p.m. at Strong Rope Brewery

Sign Up - $60


Find out when we launch new classes!

Official Partner with Penguin Press.