October Mourning by Leslea Newman (A song for Matthew Sheppard)
It was October 6th, 1998,a crisp fall evening, when 21 year old Matthew Shepard left a Wyoming bar with two young men about his own age. Matthew was gay, and he was under the assumption that these men were as well. In fact, that was not true.
Instead, Matthew was driven to a remote area, beaten horrifically and tied to a fence. At that time the two men left in their truck .
Several days later after Matthew was found, he died of his severe injuries.
Matthew never regained consciousnesses from the time he was tied to the fence to die.
At this time, Gay Awareness week was just beginning for Wyoming University and the keynote speaker Leslea Newman was scheduled to be in town days after Matthew’s beating. The crowd in light on the resent tragedy was much bigger than expected.
October Mourning is Leslea’s novel in verse of her thoughts of what happened that night…
Why did I want to read this book?
The Matthew Shepard story is one that has always touched me deeply. Hate crimes boils my blood but they also break my heart. When I see this book on Shelf Awareness and that the anniversary date was coming up, I knew I wanted to read it.
First of all I have to admit when I ordered this book after seeing that above video, I did not pick up on the fact (my error) that this was a book of free verse poetry. In my haste, I thought it was a book being told from Leslea Newman’s perspective of the happe.nings of that tragic event and about the speaking engagement she had shortly after. I am not a big fan of free verse books
I did read October Mourning and I have to say many of the poems were touching. Her first poem in the book, Outnumbered (which she also reads in the video clip, is breathtaking. I honestly can not even imagine…
I truly can not imagine.
This book will remain on my shelf and while it was not what I thought I was getting, it did inspire me to pick up another book I own called The Meaning Of Matthew written by Matthew’s mom, Judy Shepard.
I would like to say the world has grown since that tragic day in 1998, but sadly I am not sure if that is true. There are still people out there hating people. Please take a moment today to think about and or pray for Matthew Shepard and his family. And if you want to know more about Matthew’s story, I have just mentioned two books here that may be of interest to you.