Shara Lessley’s Two-Headed Nightingale has been described as less a freak of nature than a paradox of imagination.
The book’s title recalls John Keats’s “light-winged Dryad of the trees,” but is also the stage name of 19th C. conjoined songstresses and slaves Christine and Millie McCoy. In many ways these two subjects—the natural
world and the world of female performers (both public and private)—serve as the project’s bookends. Two-Headed Nightingale is populated by circus aerialists and ballet dancers, ghost moths and decomposing starlings; its page, filled with things that are deviant, anatomical, dark, and often overlooked.
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