Julia Calver: Apostrophe Plural

This presentation investigates how the experimental re-distribution of apostrophes in the sentence in English disrupts the allocation of grammatical agency. I understand the internal reading voice, which sounds words silently, as a performer. This performer, I suggest, has the capacity to hold the projective and retroactive movement of syntactical reorganisation that the mis-placed apostrophe intonates.

Following David Bohm’s experimental morphology of movement and flowing action (‘The Rheomode’ in Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980) through close reading and live vocalisation, I articulate how an experimental morphology moves a reader.

Exploring the potential of the homophonic blurring of possessives and plurals (in their designation by the ending ‘s’) I examine how it is possible to hold conflicting resolutions, to stand in two places, to allow for the irresolution of the sentence as a form of thought. I ask how formal linguistic experimentation, which draws on experimental literature and poetry, opens to the writing of research. How it can hold a space for what is sounded, for the productive hesitancies provoked by an altered grammar, for attunement to a perceptible internality of performative vocalisation.


Julia Calver is an artist and writer working with experimental linguistic morphologies. She is undertaking a practice-based PhD at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU). Recent publications include works in On Care (MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE) and Inscription: The Journal of Material Text (with The Roland Barthes Reading Group). She has performed internationally, including Galleri Box, Gothenburg, and NLHSpace, Copenhagen, and co-organises the peer-led Writing for Practice Forum (Goldsmiths and SHU).