Poet­ry

Octo­ber Mourn­ing: A Song for Matthew Shepard

  • From the Publisher
October 2, 2012
On the night of Octo­ber 6, 1998, a gay twen­ty-one-year-old col­lege stu­dent named Matthew Shep­ard was lured from a Wyoming bar by two young men, sav­age­ly beat­en, tied to a remote fence, and left to die. Gay Aware­ness Week was begin­ning at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wyoming, and the keynote speak­er was Leslea New­man, dis­cussing her book Heather Has Two Mom­mies. Shak­en, the author addressed the large audi­ence that gath­ered, but she remained haunt­ed by Matthew’s mur­der. Octo­ber Mourn­ing, a nov­el in verse, is her deeply felt response to the events of that trag­ic day. Using her poet­ic imag­i­na­tion, the author cre­ates fic­ti­tious mono­logues from var­i­ous points of view, includ­ing the fence Matthew was tied to, the stars that watched over him, the deer that kept him com­pa­ny, and Matthew him­self. More than a decade lat­er, this stun­ning cycle of six­ty-eight poems serves as an illu­mi­na­tion for read­ers too young to remem­ber, and as a pow­er­ful, endur­ing trib­ute to Matthew Shepard’s life.

Read Leslea New­man’s Posts for the Vis­it­ing Scribe


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