Tuesday, December 04, 2012

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman

On October 6, 1998 Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was kidnapped from a bar, beaten and left tied to a fence to die.

Author Leslea Newman was the scheduled keynote speaker at the University of Wyoming’s Gay Awareness Week on Matthew’s college campus just days after his murder.
This is her nuanced novel in verse, with 68 poems covering the tragic events of his death.

Each of Newman's poems is told from a different perspective including loved ones of the victim, the fence and stars with Matthew that night, doctors, police officers, defense and prosecustion during the trial, etc. Though a work of fiction, the poems are based on extensive research and Newman includes a list of resources as well as an explanation of the various poetic forms in use.

This collection of poetry is heart wrenching, yet necessary for today's teens who are too young to remember these events, yet who are the future's hope for the author's dream that "readers will be inspired to make a difference and honor his legacy by erasing hate and replacing it with compassion, understanding, and love." You can find October Mourning at VBPL today.

To get a feel for the lyrical beauty of this book check out the video of the author reading of an exceprt from October Mourning.

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