October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard PDF ô A

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard PDF ô A


October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard [BOOKS] ✭ October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard By Lesléa Newman – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk A masterful poetic exploration of the impact of Matthew Shepard s murder on the worldOn the night of October , , a gay twenty one year old college student named Matthew Shepard was lured from a Wyomin A masterful poetic exploration of A Song Kindle Ø the impact of Matthew Shepard s murder on the worldOn the night of October 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 Lesl a Newman, discussing her book Heather Has Two Mommies Shaken, the October Mourning: MOBI :Þ 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 Mourning: A Song PDF/EPUB ä eight poems serves as an illumination for readers too young to remember, and as a powerful, enduring tribute to Matthew Shepard s life.

  • Hardcover
  • 111 pages
  • October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard
  • Lesléa Newman
  • English
  • 06 November 2017
  • 0763658073

About the Author: Lesléa Newman

Lesl a Newman born , A Song Kindle Ø Brooklyn, NY is the author of over books including Heather Has Two Mommies, A Letter To Harvey Milk, Writing From The Heart, In Every Laugh a Tear, The Femme Mystique, Still Life with Buddy, Fat Chance and Out of the Closet and Nothing to WearShe has received many literary awards including Poetry Fellowships from the Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Highlights for Children Fiction Writing October Mourning: MOBI :Þ Award, the James Baldwin Award for Cultural Achievement, and two Pushcart Prize Nominations Nine of her books have been Lambda Literary Award finalistsMs Newman wrote Heather Has Two Mommies, the first children s book to portray lesbian families in a positive way, and has followed up this pioneering work with severalchildren s books on lesbian and gay families Gloria Goes To Gay Pride, Belinda s Bouquet, Too Far Away to Touch, and Saturday Is PattydayShe is also the author Mourning: A Song PDF/EPUB ä of many books for adults that deal with lesbian identity, Jewish identity and the intersection and collision between the two Other topics Ms Newman explores include AIDS, eating disorders, butch femme relationships and sexual abuse Her award winning short story, A Letter To Harvey Milk has been made into a film and adapted for the stageIn addition to being an author, Ms Newman is a popular guest lecturer, and has spoken on college campuses across the country including Harvard University, Yale University, the University of Oregon, Bryn Mawr College, Smith College and the University of Judaism From , Lesl a was a faculty member of the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine Currently, she is the Poet Laureate of Northampton, MA.



10 thoughts on “October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard

  1. Julie Julie says:

    My husband s job was relocated to Colorado in the summer of 1998, so we packed up the moving truck and headed West I had only known the West through the eyes of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Larry McMurtry and John Steinbeck, but as soon as the dust settled, I knew I loved it as they did The West won me over with its open prairies, its big sky country and, of course, in Colorado, its gorgeous, non stop panoramic views Our little family drove everywhere we could that summer, and I found that I could n My husband s job was relocated to Colorado in the summer of 1998, so we packed up the moving truck and headed West I had only known the West through the eyes of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Larry McMurtry and John Steinbeck, but as soon as the dust settled, I knew I loved it as they did The West won me over with its open prairies, its big sky country and, of course, in Colorado, its gorgeous, non stop panoramic views Our little family drove everywhere we could that summer, and I found that I could not stop smiling This is God s country, and we felt privileged to live here still do.But, just three months after our move, we were shocked to hear about the horrific murder of a Wyoming college student who had been abducted, beaten, and left for dead on a fence in a remote setting Then, before we could barely process what had happened less than two hours from our house, we were shocked to see on the news that members of a Wyoming church were protesting at this murdered man s funeral, carrying signs that said things like, God Hates Fags and Matt s in Hell Oh, no, no, no, no, NO.All I could think was what church is this Who are these people who are calling themselves Christians Holding signs saying Matt s in Hell before the grieving parents and friends at his funeral It s something that makes you want to shake and spit with the injustice It s just so damned infuriating, that s what it is And, having just finished Leslea Newman s 2012 book about Matthew Shepard s death, I am shaking again, angry again, and wondering why the people of our nation spend so much energy questioning relationships between two consenting adults when we have convicted and,importantly, NOT convicted child molesters and rapists who are CERTAINLY not involved in consensual relationships If only these same people would use their energy to protest with signs on our college campuses, Stop Rape I felt sad and angry reading Ms Newman s book, but I still delight in the power of poetry to erase part of what s ugly and confusing and deplorable here It s not enough, I know, but it s what you have, and, even though it hurts, it s good to remember injustices, so we don t repeat them.Many of the poems are excellent, but this is the one that will stick to my brain The Biker I thought it was a joke Aaron Kriefels, mountain biker It was nearHalloweenFolks were gettingspookyWitches flew across frozen front yardsGhosts hung downfrom cottonwood treesSkeletons dangledoff rotten porch railingsI thought it was a scarecrow s headslumped over that forsaken fencenot a smashed shatteredpumpkin of a boy

  2. Kai Kai says:

    This is just to sayI m sorryto denyyour requestto usethe gay panic defenseForgive mefor pointing outthe obvious there was someone gayand panicked that nightbut that someone wasn t youI expected to cry, and at the same time I thought, nah, it s just words, and it s poetry, which means even fewer words I ll be fine Reader, I was not fine.I had heard of Matthew Shepard, had heard of the horrible hate crime that killed him, but I d never made the effort to find outSometimes, stories get toThis is just to sayI m sorryto denyyour requestto usethe gay panic defenseForgive mefor pointing outthe obvious there was someone gayand panicked that nightbut that someone wasn t youI expected to cry, and at the same time I thought, nah, it s just words, and it s poetry, which means even fewer words I ll be fine Reader, I was not fine.I had heard of Matthew Shepard, had heard of the horrible hate crime that killed him, but I d never made the effort to find outSometimes, stories get too close, and I did not want to be hurt Especially, when it feels so real, when it is real Matthew Shepard was a gay student, who was lured into a truck by two homophobic men He was taken out into a field, beaten senseless, tried to a fence, robbed, and found only 18 hours later He died after five days in hospital.This verse novel reimagines his story from a multiple of POVs the wind, the street, the fence, the mother, a father, a girlfriend, the moon They all saw or heard something It is a deeply moving collection of poems, and I think a lot can be said about it, both for and against it I think it s an important and memorable piece of writing and I can definitely recommend it But it is not for you if you re in an unstable emotional space, especially for a queer person It can be very upsetting because it s quite graphic and deals with life destroying homophobia.Findof my books on Instagram

  3. David Schaafsma David Schaafsma says:

    I made a commitment twenty years ago that I would not forget Matthew Shepard I think it was in part because of Doug, my Peter VanDaan from the high school production I directed of The Diary of Ane Frank who died later in Chicago of AIDS Gay, kidnapped by two straight drunk kids pretending to be gay, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, Shepard was tied to a fence to die outside Laramie, Wyoming, and became what he never wanted to be, a kind of symbol for vicious violent rage against queer kid I made a commitment twenty years ago that I would not forget Matthew Shepard I think it was in part because of Doug, my Peter VanDaan from the high school production I directed of The Diary of Ane Frank who died later in Chicago of AIDS Gay, kidnapped by two straight drunk kids pretending to be gay, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, Shepard was tied to a fence to die outside Laramie, Wyoming, and became what he never wanted to be, a kind of symbol for vicious violent rage against queer kids Many gay young people still die the world over every day, but he became a symbol in the U S., and his story serves as a kind of signpost on a road to freedom from homophobic hate that we are clearly still on My sister is married to a woman, with two sons I am a father, one of whom may well prey victim to a range of hateful acts for any number of ignorant beliefs I live in a world of kids wanting to be themselves, wanting to be loved, some of them gay, some of them trans.A YA text, a collection of 68 poems, in various forms, a kind of model for young people for the various ways and forms they and we might respond to the world, to grief Thanks to S who writes that she likes itfor its being emotionally powerful than technically proficient, and I agree Okay, it s not great poetry, in terms of technical skill, but it speaks to Newman s grief, and the grief of many Shepard s story is told from a pastiche of perspectives a mother that s the key painful one for me, as a parent, her sweet son dead, who can face it , his cat, a nurse, friends, teacher, the killers, a teacher, the mother of one of the killers who destroyed his bloody clothes and helped her son make up a story to try to save his life, an officer of the court, Matthew himself, the perspective of stars that saw him die, the perspective of the fence he was tied to when he died The collective impact for maybe especially young people is heartbreaking, pretty powerful Is it sappy Well, I don t know A kid died because he was gay Tell it Tell it the best way you know how, with feeling, I say.Are you sick of stories of Gay Pride and Rage, of the hate crimes on gay, lesbian, queer, transgendered, bisexual and transsexual people that still happen daily Of Black Lives Matter Do you think of this kind of story as a kind of mere identity issue Well, remember Trump says trans folks cannot serve in the military, they are not fully human, in 2017, but also know that the military leadership and the thousands off trans and evencis gendered people in the military say bullshit, and I say amen to that response.Gay Awareness Week, University of Wyoming, October 1998, Leslea Newman, the author of Heather Has Two Mommies, is the scheduled keynote speaker They call to say Shepard has died, will they cancel She doesn t know Shepard, never heard of him, but she comes, she speaks They hold Gay Awareness Week in his honor, with the whole world watching She is now forever tied to this killing story in the memory of the University of Wyoming and in her own memory, of course She writes out of her grief to speak to young people everywhere The epilogue is especially beautiful, her best writing, and the afterword is powerful, too, an appeal to action on the part of readers.It s powerful, it s heavy handed, it s heartbreaking, it s didactic, it s sad, it s emotionally manipulative, it s not great poetry, it s simplistic, and yet it s what poetry can do for young people I think I killed someone, one of the killers said to his girlfriend I wouldn t call it a hate crime All I wanted to do was beat him up and rob him I hated gay people And now I hate themI have no regrets I wish it weren t true, I say to my married lesbian sister, all my gay students, all my black students, all my students, my children Stay safe Vote with your body, be as well as you are able in these times

  4. Paul Hankins Paul Hankins says:

    This review of OCTOBER MOURNING A SONG FOR MATTHEW SHEPARD is based upon the Advanced Reader Copy of the title.Is it any coincidence that the very day this book was left on my doorstep is the very day that I would stay home with my son who was not feeling well when he woke up Or that the book would arrive on the 20th of April, a day where LGBT students volunteer to go silent for the day in solidarity in order to create a sense of gay awareness.Leslea Newman s rending of the events of October 6 This review of OCTOBER MOURNING A SONG FOR MATTHEW SHEPARD is based upon the Advanced Reader Copy of the title.Is it any coincidence that the very day this book was left on my doorstep is the very day that I would stay home with my son who was not feeling well when he woke up Or that the book would arrive on the 20th of April, a day where LGBT students volunteer to go silent for the day in solidarity in order to create a sense of gay awareness.Leslea Newman s rending of the events of October 6, 1998 and the week and the court case that would follow is anything but silent And when I found out that I might be able to get an early read on this book, I felt in my heart that Leslea would be the perfect mouthpiece to tell this story.I was affirmed by reading Leslea s notes in the back of the book I often do this, especially with historically based titles I have tried my hardest to imagine the last hours of Matthew Shepard s life It is impossible to fathom the raw fear he surely felt as he begged for his life Leslea goes on to write about her work as a poet, As a poet, I know it is part of my job to use my imagination It s part of my job as a human being From the forward wherein Leslea Newman tells us what Matthew Shepard and the University of Wyoming were preparing to do within the next week in order to promote gay awareness to the afterward wherein she tells us how she mentally prepared to give the keynote address at that very event, OCTOBER MOURNING is a stunning, poignant collection of poems that paints a picture of an event that none of us can ever afford to turn away from And in this collection of sixty eight poems, in purposefully and powerfully selected forms, the reader is invited to see the events of October 6, 1998 from multiple view points to include the fence that offers both the prologue and the epilogue to the collection Out and aloneon the empty endless prairiethe moon bathes methe stars bless methe sun warms methe wind soothes mestill still stillI wonderfrom THE FENCE before xv The fence becomes a central character within the collection offering some pacing from the events of October 6th the final moments of Matthew Shepard s life on Monday, October 12th, a day after the beginning of Gay Awareness Week would begin Newman s collection serves as a multi voiced narration of the eventsfrom a mother who has not talked to her son in sometimefrom a bartender who wishes he could have offered a ride instead of a high fivefrom a law enforcement official whose language changed the day he heard about what had happenedfrom the drag queen who packs up his gear in fear of what he sees hearsfrom the cat who missed the kind hearted boy who would hold it on his lapfrom Matthew himself as he writes his own absent note to classand from those who still couldn t get it, even while closer in proximity than most of the American public who got this news across a wire service somewhere.While Matthew Shepard lay dying, a fraternity from Colorado State University proudly entered a float in their homecoming parade with a scarecrow with the words I m Gay written across its chest, a morbid and sadistic reference to the first witness to Matthew Shepard s being left tied against a fence thinking that he was seeing a Halloween prank or a scarecrow Newman pulls no punches in rendering these boys and their joke in a piece called THE FRAT BOYS Hey, that s really funnyHey, that s really hystericalHey, that s really a riotHey, that ll knock em dead 51 Newman s pieces are not marked by conventional punctuation, even at the ends of the pieces which creates a sense of urgency and importance as one reads through the account of what we the general public know of Matthew Shepard, the last five days of his life.I don t know Matthew Shepard And what I like about Newman s account of this story is that she did not either She had been invited to the university to speak about censorship and responses to her book HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES She began learning about Matthew Shepard on her ride into Laramie by the student who shared some of the town s history, pointing to the tallest building in town, the student dormitory What Leslea Newman gives to us with OCTOBER MOURNING is a chance to know Matthew Shepard while at the same time uncovering some of the deep seated sentiments and misgivings that could have fostered an event that we are still trying to wrap our minds around some almost fourteen years ago.The fence where Matthew Shepard was left to die, lashed to the wood with a thin white cord, has been since torn down But Newman allows it to have some of the last words of the collection of poems prayed uponfrowned uponreveredfearedadoredabhorreddespisedidolizedsplinteredscarredweatheredwornbroken downbroken upripped apartripped awaygonebut not forgottenThere are many, many instances of lines and phrases that Newman employs that I could cite in this review, and I walk away from this first reading affirmed in my initial feelings about Newman s being tapped for this project Newman offers notes on poetic forms used within the collection that would serve well in the writer s workshop setting with older readers.Newman s collection serves as a poignant reminder as much as it does a persuasive thesis about not only remembering but taking a sort of action not simply taking away pieces of the fence which was reported to have been happening as people began making a sort of pilgrimage to the fence to assure that what happened to Matthew Shepard never happens again Leslea offers in her notes at the end of the book Only if each of us imagines that what happened to Matthew Shepard could happen to any one of us will we be motivated to do something And something must be done

  5. Kelly Hager Kelly Hager says:

    This is a short book of poems all centered around the murder of Matthew Shepard They re told from various perspectives human but also inanimate objects including the fence that he was tied to.I ve read a lot of Leslea Newman s books and loved all that I ve read This is by far the best thing of hers that I ve read I hope it gets the widespread audience that it deserves, but I can t imagine any of my straight friends wanting to read a book of poems about a brutal murder.That s too bad because This is a short book of poems all centered around the murder of Matthew Shepard They re told from various perspectives human but also inanimate objects including the fence that he was tied to.I ve read a lot of Leslea Newman s books and loved all that I ve read This is by far the best thing of hers that I ve read I hope it gets the widespread audience that it deserves, but I can t imagine any of my straight friends wanting to read a book of poems about a brutal murder.That s too bad because every time I hear someone on Twitter usually a friend of a friend bemoan how ridiculous hate crime laws are because every crime is a hate crime they cry self righteously , I think about Matthew Shepard and I wonder if those people those straight white people know how lucky they are.If I had my way, this book woud be required reading I know that you can t make people get it, but I think this poetry collection would go a long way.At any rate, it is not an exaggeration to say that this book broke my heart I fought tears the entire way and lost I criedthan I have in years and wished that things could have been even a little bit different.Judy Shepard, Matthew s mom, spoke at my college while I was there and I admire her strength and grace Since her son s murder, she has made it her mission to travel and speak about Matthew and what happened to him There are two ways to react to a senseless tragedy like this it turns you into a crusader or it breaks you She s become a crusader and I have so much respect for her because of it.It s hard to recommend this book because I know that the people who need to read it the most are the people who won t go near it and who would actually scoff at it But it s amazing and beautiful and heartbreaking

  6. Justin Justin says:

    Wow I m not sure what else to say I read this book in about 30 minutes and wished it hadn t gone so quickly Each poem is specifically written to capture something related to the murder of Matthew Shepard Each poem is so well written that you feel like you were there with Mathew on the fence or at the trials against the murderers or grieving with his mother and father An excellent collection and a must read for the LGBT community and its supporters.

  7. Donalyn Donalyn says:

    I put off reading this book in spite of the universal accolades it s received I knew that Leslea Newman s poetic memorial to Matthew Shepard would leave me sad and emotionally drained I m a little ashamed that I was afraid Matthew s life was not wasted as long as we bear witness to it and model lives of caring and love Beyond the power of Matthew s story, Newman s poetry represents exemplars of the form A work of art and remembrance.

  8. Gray Cox Gray Cox says:

    Then I was a person, now I am a headline I am disgusted that this happened to Matthew, I am disgusted that this still happens Rest in peace, Matthew.

  9. Jessica Schwartz Jessica Schwartz says:

    I was in middle school when Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered His story had and continues to have a strong impact on me As a Denver native, and as someone with gay friends and family members, the fact that something so terrible could happen so close to home was deeply saddening and unsettling.I received a copy of this book a few months ago, but never felt ready to read it The Laramie Project left me a sobbing, emotional mess and I assumed that this book would too As it turns out, I had I was in middle school when Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered His story had and continues to have a strong impact on me As a Denver native, and as someone with gay friends and family members, the fact that something so terrible could happen so close to home was deeply saddening and unsettling.I received a copy of this book a few months ago, but never felt ready to read it The Laramie Project left me a sobbing, emotional mess and I assumed that this book would too As it turns out, I had no need to be concerned about being moved by this book October Mourning ended up having the opposite effect on me This book is incredibly problematic Newman, a proudly out lesbian poet, was scheduled to present a talk the week after Shepard s death for GLBT awareness week at the University of Wyoming, and Matthew s death had a profound impact on her This series of poems, as Newman explains in her introduction, are not an objective reporting of the events surrounding Matthew s murder, but rather her own personal interpretation of them It s clear that Newman went into this project with the best of intentions however, I did not find the book to be successfully executed Not only does it feel incredibly heavy handed, didactic and emotionally manipulative, but much of the poetry is cliched and trite I found myself rolling my eyesthan a few times For example, one of the most heavy handed poems of the bunch, Where is My Boy is told from the perspective of Matthew s cat Where is the sweet boy who loves me so much, his whole face lights up at my purr or my touch the sad kitty implores The cadence of this rhyming couplet make it sound like it was written by Dr Seuss on anti depressants In reading this, rather than bearing witness to the tragic events of the Matthew s death, I felt as though I were bearing witness to the author s personal therapy session I m sure it was therapeutic for her to write, but these poems do not add anything to the conversation about Matthew Shepard That said, though the poems fall flat, Newman s prose introduction and epilogue provide a moving commentary about the author s personal connection to the events, and for that I can give the book 2 stars.The tragic story of Matthew Shepard is still incredibly relevant and important to share with today s teens, but I don t think this is the book to do that with Moises Kaufman s The Laramie Project is a farmasterful and moving and tribute

  10. Vicki Vicki says:

    Beautiful book in verse inspired by a real tragedy simply because of one boy s sexual orientation and two other boys who could t handle someone being different.The poems in this book included some quotes from real people who spoke out on the senseless murder of Matthew Shepard It really made the story s authenticity and senselessness come to life.At the end of the book are notes from the author Read them They explain the quotes indetail and where they came from Additionally, this is a Beautiful book in verse inspired by a real tragedy simply because of one boy s sexual orientation and two other boys who could t handle someone being different.The poems in this book included some quotes from real people who spoke out on the senseless murder of Matthew Shepard It really made the story s authenticity and senselessness come to life.At the end of the book are notes from the author Read them They explain the quotes indetail and where they came from Additionally, this is a book in poetry form and at the end of the book the author includes various types of poetry used for each poem, which as an English teacher I truly appreciated Some forms are haiku, couplets, lists, concrete, acrostic, and poems modeled after a famous poet, William Carlos Williams One of my favorites is modeled after traditional Navajo prayer and prayers from other traditions such as the Kaddish, Bible, and Tibetan Buddhist prayer This truly enriched my pleasure of this book I would and plan to use this book in my classroom, perhaps during Gay Awareness Week Recommendation Read this book and then go out and spread the idea that we do not have to live the same lifestyle as another, be of the same religion or skin color, or enjoy same sex partners as some do in order to respect one s choices in life We human beings are all very different, and God bless that difference But in no way am I better than another simply because they are different from me in any way, shape, or form

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10 thoughts on “October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard

  1. Julie Julie says:

    My husband s job was relocated to Colorado in the summer of 1998, so we packed up the moving truck and headed West I had only known the West through the eyes of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Larry McMurtry and John Steinbeck, but as soon as the dust settled, I knew I loved it as they did The West won me over with its open prairies, its big sky country and, of course, in Colorado, its gorgeous, non stop panoramic views Our little family drove everywhere we could that summer, and I found that I could n My husband s job was relocated to Colorado in the summer of 1998, so we packed up the moving truck and headed West I had only known the West through the eyes of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Larry McMurtry and John Steinbeck, but as soon as the dust settled, I knew I loved it as they did The West won me over with its open prairies, its big sky country and, of course, in Colorado, its gorgeous, non stop panoramic views Our little family drove everywhere we could that summer, and I found that I could not stop smiling This is God s country, and we felt privileged to live here still do.But, just three months after our move, we were shocked to hear about the horrific murder of a Wyoming college student who had been abducted, beaten, and left for dead on a fence in a remote setting Then, before we could barely process what had happened less than two hours from our house, we were shocked to see on the news that members of a Wyoming church were protesting at this murdered man s funeral, carrying signs that said things like, God Hates Fags and Matt s in Hell Oh, no, no, no, no, NO.All I could think was what church is this Who are these people who are calling themselves Christians Holding signs saying Matt s in Hell before the grieving parents and friends at his funeral It s something that makes you want to shake and spit with the injustice It s just so damned infuriating, that s what it is And, having just finished Leslea Newman s 2012 book about Matthew Shepard s death, I am shaking again, angry again, and wondering why the people of our nation spend so much energy questioning relationships between two consenting adults when we have convicted and,importantly, NOT convicted child molesters and rapists who are CERTAINLY not involved in consensual relationships If only these same people would use their energy to protest with signs on our college campuses, Stop Rape I felt sad and angry reading Ms Newman s book, but I still delight in the power of poetry to erase part of what s ugly and confusing and deplorable here It s not enough, I know, but it s what you have, and, even though it hurts, it s good to remember injustices, so we don t repeat them.Many of the poems are excellent, but this is the one that will stick to my brain The Biker I thought it was a joke Aaron Kriefels, mountain biker It was nearHalloweenFolks were gettingspookyWitches flew across frozen front yardsGhosts hung downfrom cottonwood treesSkeletons dangledoff rotten porch railingsI thought it was a scarecrow s headslumped over that forsaken fencenot a smashed shatteredpumpkin of a boy

  2. Kai Kai says:

    This is just to sayI m sorryto denyyour requestto usethe gay panic defenseForgive mefor pointing outthe obvious there was someone gayand panicked that nightbut that someone wasn t youI expected to cry, and at the same time I thought, nah, it s just words, and it s poetry, which means even fewer words I ll be fine Reader, I was not fine.I had heard of Matthew Shepard, had heard of the horrible hate crime that killed him, but I d never made the effort to find outSometimes, stories get toThis is just to sayI m sorryto denyyour requestto usethe gay panic defenseForgive mefor pointing outthe obvious there was someone gayand panicked that nightbut that someone wasn t youI expected to cry, and at the same time I thought, nah, it s just words, and it s poetry, which means even fewer words I ll be fine Reader, I was not fine.I had heard of Matthew Shepard, had heard of the horrible hate crime that killed him, but I d never made the effort to find outSometimes, stories get too close, and I did not want to be hurt Especially, when it feels so real, when it is real Matthew Shepard was a gay student, who was lured into a truck by two homophobic men He was taken out into a field, beaten senseless, tried to a fence, robbed, and found only 18 hours later He died after five days in hospital.This verse novel reimagines his story from a multiple of POVs the wind, the street, the fence, the mother, a father, a girlfriend, the moon They all saw or heard something It is a deeply moving collection of poems, and I think a lot can be said about it, both for and against it I think it s an important and memorable piece of writing and I can definitely recommend it But it is not for you if you re in an unstable emotional space, especially for a queer person It can be very upsetting because it s quite graphic and deals with life destroying homophobia.Findof my books on Instagram

  3. David Schaafsma David Schaafsma says:

    I made a commitment twenty years ago that I would not forget Matthew Shepard I think it was in part because of Doug, my Peter VanDaan from the high school production I directed of The Diary of Ane Frank who died later in Chicago of AIDS Gay, kidnapped by two straight drunk kids pretending to be gay, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, Shepard was tied to a fence to die outside Laramie, Wyoming, and became what he never wanted to be, a kind of symbol for vicious violent rage against queer kid I made a commitment twenty years ago that I would not forget Matthew Shepard I think it was in part because of Doug, my Peter VanDaan from the high school production I directed of The Diary of Ane Frank who died later in Chicago of AIDS Gay, kidnapped by two straight drunk kids pretending to be gay, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, Shepard was tied to a fence to die outside Laramie, Wyoming, and became what he never wanted to be, a kind of symbol for vicious violent rage against queer kids Many gay young people still die the world over every day, but he became a symbol in the U S., and his story serves as a kind of signpost on a road to freedom from homophobic hate that we are clearly still on My sister is married to a woman, with two sons I am a father, one of whom may well prey victim to a range of hateful acts for any number of ignorant beliefs I live in a world of kids wanting to be themselves, wanting to be loved, some of them gay, some of them trans.A YA text, a collection of 68 poems, in various forms, a kind of model for young people for the various ways and forms they and we might respond to the world, to grief Thanks to S who writes that she likes itfor its being emotionally powerful than technically proficient, and I agree Okay, it s not great poetry, in terms of technical skill, but it speaks to Newman s grief, and the grief of many Shepard s story is told from a pastiche of perspectives a mother that s the key painful one for me, as a parent, her sweet son dead, who can face it , his cat, a nurse, friends, teacher, the killers, a teacher, the mother of one of the killers who destroyed his bloody clothes and helped her son make up a story to try to save his life, an officer of the court, Matthew himself, the perspective of stars that saw him die, the perspective of the fence he was tied to when he died The collective impact for maybe especially young people is heartbreaking, pretty powerful Is it sappy Well, I don t know A kid died because he was gay Tell it Tell it the best way you know how, with feeling, I say.Are you sick of stories of Gay Pride and Rage, of the hate crimes on gay, lesbian, queer, transgendered, bisexual and transsexual people that still happen daily Of Black Lives Matter Do you think of this kind of story as a kind of mere identity issue Well, remember Trump says trans folks cannot serve in the military, they are not fully human, in 2017, but also know that the military leadership and the thousands off trans and evencis gendered people in the military say bullshit, and I say amen to that response.Gay Awareness Week, University of Wyoming, October 1998, Leslea Newman, the author of Heather Has Two Mommies, is the scheduled keynote speaker They call to say Shepard has died, will they cancel She doesn t know Shepard, never heard of him, but she comes, she speaks They hold Gay Awareness Week in his honor, with the whole world watching She is now forever tied to this killing story in the memory of the University of Wyoming and in her own memory, of course She writes out of her grief to speak to young people everywhere The epilogue is especially beautiful, her best writing, and the afterword is powerful, too, an appeal to action on the part of readers.It s powerful, it s heavy handed, it s heartbreaking, it s didactic, it s sad, it s emotionally manipulative, it s not great poetry, it s simplistic, and yet it s what poetry can do for young people I think I killed someone, one of the killers said to his girlfriend I wouldn t call it a hate crime All I wanted to do was beat him up and rob him I hated gay people And now I hate themI have no regrets I wish it weren t true, I say to my married lesbian sister, all my gay students, all my black students, all my students, my children Stay safe Vote with your body, be as well as you are able in these times

  4. Paul Hankins Paul Hankins says:

    This review of OCTOBER MOURNING A SONG FOR MATTHEW SHEPARD is based upon the Advanced Reader Copy of the title.Is it any coincidence that the very day this book was left on my doorstep is the very day that I would stay home with my son who was not feeling well when he woke up Or that the book would arrive on the 20th of April, a day where LGBT students volunteer to go silent for the day in solidarity in order to create a sense of gay awareness.Leslea Newman s rending of the events of October 6 This review of OCTOBER MOURNING A SONG FOR MATTHEW SHEPARD is based upon the Advanced Reader Copy of the title.Is it any coincidence that the very day this book was left on my doorstep is the very day that I would stay home with my son who was not feeling well when he woke up Or that the book would arrive on the 20th of April, a day where LGBT students volunteer to go silent for the day in solidarity in order to create a sense of gay awareness.Leslea Newman s rending of the events of October 6, 1998 and the week and the court case that would follow is anything but silent And when I found out that I might be able to get an early read on this book, I felt in my heart that Leslea would be the perfect mouthpiece to tell this story.I was affirmed by reading Leslea s notes in the back of the book I often do this, especially with historically based titles I have tried my hardest to imagine the last hours of Matthew Shepard s life It is impossible to fathom the raw fear he surely felt as he begged for his life Leslea goes on to write about her work as a poet, As a poet, I know it is part of my job to use my imagination It s part of my job as a human being From the forward wherein Leslea Newman tells us what Matthew Shepard and the University of Wyoming were preparing to do within the next week in order to promote gay awareness to the afterward wherein she tells us how she mentally prepared to give the keynote address at that very event, OCTOBER MOURNING is a stunning, poignant collection of poems that paints a picture of an event that none of us can ever afford to turn away from And in this collection of sixty eight poems, in purposefully and powerfully selected forms, the reader is invited to see the events of October 6, 1998 from multiple view points to include the fence that offers both the prologue and the epilogue to the collection Out and aloneon the empty endless prairiethe moon bathes methe stars bless methe sun warms methe wind soothes mestill still stillI wonderfrom THE FENCE before xv The fence becomes a central character within the collection offering some pacing from the events of October 6th the final moments of Matthew Shepard s life on Monday, October 12th, a day after the beginning of Gay Awareness Week would begin Newman s collection serves as a multi voiced narration of the eventsfrom a mother who has not talked to her son in sometimefrom a bartender who wishes he could have offered a ride instead of a high fivefrom a law enforcement official whose language changed the day he heard about what had happenedfrom the drag queen who packs up his gear in fear of what he sees hearsfrom the cat who missed the kind hearted boy who would hold it on his lapfrom Matthew himself as he writes his own absent note to classand from those who still couldn t get it, even while closer in proximity than most of the American public who got this news across a wire service somewhere.While Matthew Shepard lay dying, a fraternity from Colorado State University proudly entered a float in their homecoming parade with a scarecrow with the words I m Gay written across its chest, a morbid and sadistic reference to the first witness to Matthew Shepard s being left tied against a fence thinking that he was seeing a Halloween prank or a scarecrow Newman pulls no punches in rendering these boys and their joke in a piece called THE FRAT BOYS Hey, that s really funnyHey, that s really hystericalHey, that s really a riotHey, that ll knock em dead 51 Newman s pieces are not marked by conventional punctuation, even at the ends of the pieces which creates a sense of urgency and importance as one reads through the account of what we the general public know of Matthew Shepard, the last five days of his life.I don t know Matthew Shepard And what I like about Newman s account of this story is that she did not either She had been invited to the university to speak about censorship and responses to her book HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES She began learning about Matthew Shepard on her ride into Laramie by the student who shared some of the town s history, pointing to the tallest building in town, the student dormitory What Leslea Newman gives to us with OCTOBER MOURNING is a chance to know Matthew Shepard while at the same time uncovering some of the deep seated sentiments and misgivings that could have fostered an event that we are still trying to wrap our minds around some almost fourteen years ago.The fence where Matthew Shepard was left to die, lashed to the wood with a thin white cord, has been since torn down But Newman allows it to have some of the last words of the collection of poems prayed uponfrowned uponreveredfearedadoredabhorreddespisedidolizedsplinteredscarredweatheredwornbroken downbroken upripped apartripped awaygonebut not forgottenThere are many, many instances of lines and phrases that Newman employs that I could cite in this review, and I walk away from this first reading affirmed in my initial feelings about Newman s being tapped for this project Newman offers notes on poetic forms used within the collection that would serve well in the writer s workshop setting with older readers.Newman s collection serves as a poignant reminder as much as it does a persuasive thesis about not only remembering but taking a sort of action not simply taking away pieces of the fence which was reported to have been happening as people began making a sort of pilgrimage to the fence to assure that what happened to Matthew Shepard never happens again Leslea offers in her notes at the end of the book Only if each of us imagines that what happened to Matthew Shepard could happen to any one of us will we be motivated to do something And something must be done

  5. Kelly Hager Kelly Hager says:

    This is a short book of poems all centered around the murder of Matthew Shepard They re told from various perspectives human but also inanimate objects including the fence that he was tied to.I ve read a lot of Leslea Newman s books and loved all that I ve read This is by far the best thing of hers that I ve read I hope it gets the widespread audience that it deserves, but I can t imagine any of my straight friends wanting to read a book of poems about a brutal murder.That s too bad because This is a short book of poems all centered around the murder of Matthew Shepard They re told from various perspectives human but also inanimate objects including the fence that he was tied to.I ve read a lot of Leslea Newman s books and loved all that I ve read This is by far the best thing of hers that I ve read I hope it gets the widespread audience that it deserves, but I can t imagine any of my straight friends wanting to read a book of poems about a brutal murder.That s too bad because every time I hear someone on Twitter usually a friend of a friend bemoan how ridiculous hate crime laws are because every crime is a hate crime they cry self righteously , I think about Matthew Shepard and I wonder if those people those straight white people know how lucky they are.If I had my way, this book woud be required reading I know that you can t make people get it, but I think this poetry collection would go a long way.At any rate, it is not an exaggeration to say that this book broke my heart I fought tears the entire way and lost I criedthan I have in years and wished that things could have been even a little bit different.Judy Shepard, Matthew s mom, spoke at my college while I was there and I admire her strength and grace Since her son s murder, she has made it her mission to travel and speak about Matthew and what happened to him There are two ways to react to a senseless tragedy like this it turns you into a crusader or it breaks you She s become a crusader and I have so much respect for her because of it.It s hard to recommend this book because I know that the people who need to read it the most are the people who won t go near it and who would actually scoff at it But it s amazing and beautiful and heartbreaking

  6. Justin Justin says:

    Wow I m not sure what else to say I read this book in about 30 minutes and wished it hadn t gone so quickly Each poem is specifically written to capture something related to the murder of Matthew Shepard Each poem is so well written that you feel like you were there with Mathew on the fence or at the trials against the murderers or grieving with his mother and father An excellent collection and a must read for the LGBT community and its supporters.

  7. Donalyn Donalyn says:

    I put off reading this book in spite of the universal accolades it s received I knew that Leslea Newman s poetic memorial to Matthew Shepard would leave me sad and emotionally drained I m a little ashamed that I was afraid Matthew s life was not wasted as long as we bear witness to it and model lives of caring and love Beyond the power of Matthew s story, Newman s poetry represents exemplars of the form A work of art and remembrance.

  8. Gray Cox Gray Cox says:

    Then I was a person, now I am a headline I am disgusted that this happened to Matthew, I am disgusted that this still happens Rest in peace, Matthew.

  9. Jessica Schwartz Jessica Schwartz says:

    I was in middle school when Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered His story had and continues to have a strong impact on me As a Denver native, and as someone with gay friends and family members, the fact that something so terrible could happen so close to home was deeply saddening and unsettling.I received a copy of this book a few months ago, but never felt ready to read it The Laramie Project left me a sobbing, emotional mess and I assumed that this book would too As it turns out, I had I was in middle school when Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered His story had and continues to have a strong impact on me As a Denver native, and as someone with gay friends and family members, the fact that something so terrible could happen so close to home was deeply saddening and unsettling.I received a copy of this book a few months ago, but never felt ready to read it The Laramie Project left me a sobbing, emotional mess and I assumed that this book would too As it turns out, I had no need to be concerned about being moved by this book October Mourning ended up having the opposite effect on me This book is incredibly problematic Newman, a proudly out lesbian poet, was scheduled to present a talk the week after Shepard s death for GLBT awareness week at the University of Wyoming, and Matthew s death had a profound impact on her This series of poems, as Newman explains in her introduction, are not an objective reporting of the events surrounding Matthew s murder, but rather her own personal interpretation of them It s clear that Newman went into this project with the best of intentions however, I did not find the book to be successfully executed Not only does it feel incredibly heavy handed, didactic and emotionally manipulative, but much of the poetry is cliched and trite I found myself rolling my eyesthan a few times For example, one of the most heavy handed poems of the bunch, Where is My Boy is told from the perspective of Matthew s cat Where is the sweet boy who loves me so much, his whole face lights up at my purr or my touch the sad kitty implores The cadence of this rhyming couplet make it sound like it was written by Dr Seuss on anti depressants In reading this, rather than bearing witness to the tragic events of the Matthew s death, I felt as though I were bearing witness to the author s personal therapy session I m sure it was therapeutic for her to write, but these poems do not add anything to the conversation about Matthew Shepard That said, though the poems fall flat, Newman s prose introduction and epilogue provide a moving commentary about the author s personal connection to the events, and for that I can give the book 2 stars.The tragic story of Matthew Shepard is still incredibly relevant and important to share with today s teens, but I don t think this is the book to do that with Moises Kaufman s The Laramie Project is a farmasterful and moving and tribute

  10. Vicki Vicki says:

    Beautiful book in verse inspired by a real tragedy simply because of one boy s sexual orientation and two other boys who could t handle someone being different.The poems in this book included some quotes from real people who spoke out on the senseless murder of Matthew Shepard It really made the story s authenticity and senselessness come to life.At the end of the book are notes from the author Read them They explain the quotes indetail and where they came from Additionally, this is a Beautiful book in verse inspired by a real tragedy simply because of one boy s sexual orientation and two other boys who could t handle someone being different.The poems in this book included some quotes from real people who spoke out on the senseless murder of Matthew Shepard It really made the story s authenticity and senselessness come to life.At the end of the book are notes from the author Read them They explain the quotes indetail and where they came from Additionally, this is a book in poetry form and at the end of the book the author includes various types of poetry used for each poem, which as an English teacher I truly appreciated Some forms are haiku, couplets, lists, concrete, acrostic, and poems modeled after a famous poet, William Carlos Williams One of my favorites is modeled after traditional Navajo prayer and prayers from other traditions such as the Kaddish, Bible, and Tibetan Buddhist prayer This truly enriched my pleasure of this book I would and plan to use this book in my classroom, perhaps during Gay Awareness Week Recommendation Read this book and then go out and spread the idea that we do not have to live the same lifestyle as another, be of the same religion or skin color, or enjoy same sex partners as some do in order to respect one s choices in life We human beings are all very different, and God bless that difference But in no way am I better than another simply because they are different from me in any way, shape, or form

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