Candlewick Press

January 2013

$24.95 AU

112p hc

ISBN: 978-0763658076

fp in the US in October 2012

October Mourning: A Song For Matthew Shepard

Lesléa Newman

from the book...

On the night of October 6, 1998, a gay twenty-one-year-old University of Wyoming student named Matthew Shepard was lured from a bar by two young men, then savagely beaten, tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, and left to die. Five days later, Lesléa Newman arrived on campus to give the keynote speech for the University of Wyoming’s Gay Awareness Week.

October Mourning is Lesléa Newman’s deeply personal response to the events of that tragic day and its brutal aftermath. This work of poetic imagination explores the impact of the vicious crime through fictitious monologues from various points of view, including the fence to which Matthew was tied, the deer that kept watch beside him, and even Matthew himself. 

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 and legacy.

If you have read this verse novel and would like to share your opinion of it with other readers please send your review or comments to YARR-A

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Lesléa Newman is a book written in verse. It is about the beating and killing of Matthew Shepard, 21, who was gay. There are 68 poems that tell the story in five parts. The poems are fictitious but are based on the beating and killing of Matthew Shepard in 1998. Before the poems actually begin there is an introduction which provides a bit of background information to help the reader understand the context of the poems and at the end there is an afterword which is the author’s personal account of Matthew Shepard’s murder and the events that followed. It is highly recommended to read both the introduction and the afterward. The book also includes bibliographical references if people want to look into the story further.

October Mourning outlines the hate crime that was committed against Matthew. The poems are from different perspectives that range from the deer that was beside him to the fence he was tied to. It is a touching collection of poems. Some are not long and others are. It is a fairly easy book to read but is definitely for mature readers and those who can understand and respect the topic. It is very beautifully written and is a very good read, so I would encourage people, particularly those interested in gay and lesbian rights, to read this book.

Chloe, age 15, Canberra, Australia

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