October Mourning

October Mourning
Written by Leslea Newman

This collection of poems relates, from various points of view, events from the night of October 6, 1998, when twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was lured out of a Wyoming bar, savagely beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die.

Primary Source Pairing:
In a beautiful and heartbreaking tribute, author Leslea Newman takes the reader on a journey as the nightmare of the killing of Matthew Shepherd unfolds. Sparse yet poignant, Newman’s poems resonate long after the book has been finished. For the primary source pairing for this book, an image of Matthew Shepard smiling and happy will give students an opportunity to see Matthew at his best and contrast the sadness and fear of his last hours.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What people and objects are shown?
  • How are they arranged?
  • What other details can you see
  • What feelings do you have while looking at this picture?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Image of Matthew Shepard: Huffington Post