KATHY GROAN: Proposition

Proposition: ‘I’ will never be ‘I’’s own person as far as speech events are concerned, or, language is an elsewhere

1. Speech events precede ‘I’’s arrival whether ‘I’ likes it or not

1.1 It follows ‘I’ cannot speak of an ‘I’ which exists prior to its orientation across and as a speech event

1.2 In the first place ‘I’ must accept the impersonality of the speech events across which ‘I’ has blindly staggered; in the second place ‘I’ must accept ‘I’’s dependence on these speech events

1.3 Language is not a here but an elsewhere

1.4 ‘I’ yearns for independence from the speech events which carry ‘I’ out

1.5 ‘I’ is a condition of striving and an ugly occupation

1.6 Perhaps ‘I’ does not express very much except the impersonality of speech events

1.7 Perhaps speech events do not express very much except the non-meeting of language and ‘I’

1.8 Perhaps speech events are a grappling between ‘speakingness’ and ‘spokenness’

1.9 Perhaps ‘agency’ is unlocatable being neither ‘in’ speech events nor ‘I’

1.10 Perhaps ‘agency’ traverses the grappling

1.11 If “desire emerges first from the outside and in overwhelming form, and […] retains this exterior and foreign quality once it becomes the subject’s own desire” perhaps speech events are a species of desire[1]

1.12 If catachresis “names the origin of language – or indeed […] any symbolic system – as “rupture” or “doubling” rather than as singular presence” perhaps ‘I’ is also catachrestic[2]

1.13 Perhaps words which sacrifice the desire to erase the world are both deliberate and accidental

1.14 Perhaps the word and the world are the same but are attended by different events

1.15 Perhaps language is the residue of an unspeakable event

1.16 Perhaps writing is the only erotic activity



Kathy Groan


[1] Butler, J., Giving an Account of Oneself (New York: Fordham University Press, 2005) p. 72

[2] Greene, R., The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (Fourth Edition) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012) p. 210


Kathy Groan was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, and has lived in Rugby, Paris, Huddersfield, Manchester and mid-Wales. She has worked variously as a bartender, busker, cleaner, life model, usherette and waitress, and is currently working on a book of creative and critical essays on language, violence and desire.


From the Junction Box

Junction Box Categories

Glasfryn Project

+44(0)1873 810456 | LYN@GLASFRYNPROJECT.ORG.UK