Beautiful and Ugly Words
October 5th, 2017
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If somebody asked you to list the five most beautiful words, would you answer: “Love, peace, ice-cream, goodness, and daddy?” If so, you’d be concentrating on the meaning of words rather than their sound. When William Safire, a New York Times columnist, conducted a beauty contest for words in 1982, he laid down ground rules […]

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Conjugations
September 14th, 2017
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The idea of conjugation is fantastic. You used to have to learn conjugations by heart and old grammar books contained pages of them. What’s the point of reading pages of conjugations, you might wonder. What would you gain? Well, you’d have a map of all the possible ways to spell out time itself. You’d have […]

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Collectives
August 24th, 2017
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Collectives are a type of noun which describe a bunch of anything, but particularly animals, such as a ‘flock of sheep’ or a ‘school of fish’. They’re called ‘venereal nouns’ because Venus was goddess of the hunt. Archivists of language love venereal nouns because they give hints of physical life and thought patterns of the […]

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Alliteration
August 3rd, 2017
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by Daphne Athas, cartoon by Marianne Gingher “They were learning to draw,” the Dormouse went on… “and they drew everything that begins with an M–“ “Why with an M?” said Alice. “Why not?” said the March Hare. The Dormouse went on:   “—such as mouse-traps, and the moon, and memory, and muchness…” The Dormouse’s M in […]

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Humpty Trumpty
October 18th, 2016
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        “Humpty Trumpty sits on his wall.     Preaching his best brand of spite to us all.”       If younger generations, from Age 55 down ever watch gangster movies (1930s and 40s) on Turner Classics or elsewhere, they’ll come across: “I’ll Smack you in the Kisser”. In those days […]

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The Grammar of Power
July 13th, 2015
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by Daphne Athas I’m sitting in a fishing town on the south coast of Crete on the weekend of June 19th and 20th with nothing to read but my Kindle stoked with Victorian novels and ancient Greeks, Aristotle, Thucydides, Herodotus. Non-evanescent reading. My only alternative: the International NYT, which used to be the International Herald […]

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The 2012 Show
July 25th, 2013
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The 2012 Gram-O-Rama show, entitled Cirque du Chat: Here, Kitty Kitty, is now available on YouTube. Take a look at this exercise, which asks the writer(s) to develop a rhythmic chant using repeated phrases and words.

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Excerpt From Gram-O-Rama’s 2011 Show
February 1st, 2012
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Check out excerpts GRAM-O-RAMA’s 2011 Show, “Gram-o-Vision: Kill Your TV.” Featuring a parody of Tolkien, Sarah Palin speaking in Alaskanese nonsense, a grade protest set to Chopin, a movie trailer parody starring Humpty Dumpty, a classroom where double-negatives obscure the truth, a cautionary Christmas carol, a playground scene performed as film noir, and a choral […]

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How Gram-O-Rama Began
January 12th, 2012
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During the 1970’s, Daphne Athas originated and developed a creative writing course at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill that she dubbed “Glossolalia.” The word traditionally applies to religious sect members who speak an unintelligible rant when in the throes of spiritual ecstasy. Its Greek origin signifies “tongue chatter.” In appropriating the term […]

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