“October Mourning” offers touching poetry

By: Kira Covin

A beautiful life is cut short in the story depicted in Leslèa Newman’s new book, “October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard.”

The work is a collection of poems describing the beating and eventual death of Matthew Shepard on October 6, 1998 in Laramie, Wyo. due to his sexual orientation.

The work follows several various phases of the horrendous moments and gives the reader a deeper, thoughtful meaning into who a person truly is, why they matter and the idea that no one should be left behind.

The book is set up in five main parts — the prologue, part one, part two, the epilogue and the afterword.

Meanwhile, the entire story is written in poems that make up the timeline from the night Shepard was beaten and left for dead after his assault and murder.

Through the work, there are several quotations from the Bible, from friends of Shepard and even from the men who killed him. Together with the various versions of poetry, the lines build the vision of a beautiful existence that ended tragically.

“October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard” is an aweinspiring work that calls to mind the deepest emotions of pain and sorrow for what happened to such an innocent person, as well as anger and the desire for revenge towards those who took his life.

The poem “Class Photo: Me in the Middle” is particularly compelling. It lists different things that people wish to be when they grow older and then, in the center, the word “martyr” is written, symbolizing Shepard.

Such poetry and the truth behind the lyricism builds upon the truth that human lives are unexpected and that no one knows what is next to come.

However, in several poems there are many moments when the reader is left completely unaware of how some of the poems relate to Shepard’s case. If someone knows little about the story behind the book, then he or she may have difficulties reading.

“October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard” is a beautifully written collection for those seeking a poetic style story with a deep meaning.

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