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

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.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month



Other upcoming Olios


Feb 22

The Circular Road: Art and the Religious Imagination

Taught by Michael Prettyman
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Feb 25

What Would Buffy Do? Radical Feminism and the Slayer

Taught by Jamie Warren
7:30 p.m. at Neuehouse Madison Sq.

Sign Up - $20

Feb 28

Into the Mystic: Music & the Moving Image

Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

Mar 6

The 2nd Amendment Explained

Taught by Lawrence Cappello
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $15

Mar 13

Philosophy Club | Can We Say Everything?

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Mar 15

Rethinking Refugee Trauma and Mental Health

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Mar 16

OlioHouse | Willpower and the Right to Be Lazy

Taught by Jeanne Proust
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Mar 20

Reimagining the Carceral State: Art, Imagination, and an Abolitionist Future

Taught by Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Mar 23

Mar 27

Urban Development: From Reconstruction to Gentrification

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $15

Mar 28

Catfishing: The Artist as Trickster in Factual Fictions

Taught by Ted Barrow
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

May 29

Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at BAM Fisher

Sign Up - $20


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