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


Jul 21

Olio Breakfast Club | The Stranger

Taught by Patricia Kim
10 a.m. at Greenberg's Bagels @ North 3rd St. Market

Sign Up - $25

Jul 23

The American Soundscape

Taught by Christina Katopodis
7 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Jul 25

Frida's Fragrance: Art, Scent, & Persona

Taught by Jessica Murphy
7:30 p.m. at The William Vale Hotel

Sign Up - $20

Jul 31

Prospect Park Philosophy | Art vs. Reality

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:15 p.m. at Prospect Park (Grand Army Entrance)

Sign Up - $15

Aug 2

OlioHouse Weekend | Midsummer Night’s Dream

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $200

Aug 14

The Allure of Masculinity

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7:30 p.m. at The Assemblage | NoMad

Sign Up - $15

Aug 17

OlioHouse Weekend | Scenius (Un)Skillshare

Taught by Lauren Hudson
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $100

Aug 20

Dementia Americana: The Persistence of Forgetting

Taught by Ward Regan
7:30 p.m. at Nowadays

Sign Up - $15

Aug 21

Philosophy Club | "God is Dead"

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

Sign Up - $15

Sep 19

OlioTrip | Cienfuegos, Cuba

Taught by Teresita Levy
10 a.m. at Cienfuegos, Cuba

Sign Up - $


Find out when we launch new classes!