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DAUGHTER ISOTOPE

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Daughter Isotope is a book of “hybrid” poems that speaks to multiple iterations of “daughter” tropes across generations, national borders, and timescales. Central to the question of the Daughter Isotopeis: What is a collective archive?within a global, disparate, migrant cultural space. DI is organized in a series of four “clouds,” calling up the vague, penetrable borders of our digital lives, both searching and searchable.

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Vidhu Aggarwal

Vidhu Aggarwal’s poetry and multimedia practices engage with world-building, video, and graphic media, drawing mythic schemas from popular culture, science, and ancient texts. Her poetry book, The Trouble with Humpadori (2016), imagines a cosmic mythological space for marginalized transnational subjects. Avatara, a chapbook from Portable @Yo-Yo Labs Press, is situated in a post-apocalyptic gaming world where A.I.’s play at being gods. She has published in the Boston Review, Black Warrior Review, Aster(ix) Journal, Poemelon, and Leonardo, among other journals. She is currently engaging in a “cloud poetics,” as a way of thinking about personal, collective, and digital archives as a collaborate process with comic artists, dancers, and video artists. Her next poetry book Daughter Isotope will be coming out with The Operating System in 2021. A Djerassi resident and Kundiman fellow, she teaches at Rollins College.

Vidhu Aggarwal’s DAUGHTER ISOTOPE chants squishy myth vortexes to recode your bodymind. Give yourself to decay and renewal. Play with ‘sacred raging atoms.’ DAUGHTER ISOTOPE is a high-energy mélange of the holy and the profane, visual and visceral. Aggarwal drives a cloud-computing daughter into careening slingshots around gods to launch into digital dis/re/embodiment. Fragments come back as lights of a disco ball that becomes a head, or as a cow that speaks. All translate bio-function into digital data and back again, where the ‘atlas spurts out of my belly and breath.’ Aggarwal’s language soars and sparks, and my gut vibrates in futuristic sympathy when I read of ‘fine-scale filamentous heterogeneities/hosed through the eruptive stoma/of the melt generation’.

Petra Kuppers

Description

Daughter Isotope is a book of “hybrid” poems that speaks to multiple iterations of “daughter” tropes across generations, national borders, and timescales. Central to the question of the Daughter Isotopeis: What is a collective archive?within a global, disparate, migrant cultural space. DI is organized in a series of four “clouds,” calling up the vague, penetrable borders of our digital lives, both searching and searchable.

Throughout the manuscript, the poems operate as types of search engines that test the boundaries of often overlapping archives or “clouds” that make up diasporic experience. Starting with a series of poems based on the Mahabharata, an “encyclopedic” Sanskrit epic-cloud about an apocalyptic war composed over centuries, the organization of the manuscript is based off of South Asian polyvocal storytelling traditions. Like Donna Haraway’s cyborg, a “daughter” gender could be seen as any “child” or subject under a rigid paternal order — whether Hindu nationalism or U.S. exceptionalism — whose filiation is in question. Dispersed through the manuscript are multiple versions/clouds of Draupadi, Emily Dickinson, Judy Garland, Krishna, Michael Jackson, and the aspirational figure of @agirl, among others uncertain “daughters.” Poems interrogate the stability of various “daughter” genders through myth, online personas, computer gaming, nuclear physics, and artificial intelligence.

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