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.
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