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 Isotope is: 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.