But first I’ll start with some general impressions. The poetry in this collection took on many forms, but what stood o...moreGet ready for specific comments.
But first I’ll start with some general impressions. The poetry in this collection took on many forms, but what stood out most were the perspectives imagined and written by the author.
This may be “A Song for Matthew Shepard” (emphasis mine), but it is definitely not about Matthew Shepard, the individual. It is more about what he went through before his death and what happened after his death; the symbol he has become, and how the events leading up to his death changes others lives, notably that of the author.
It is about who Shepard is now. “Then I was a son/Now I am a symbol,” states the poem Then and Now (p 40).
There is definitely a mournful feeling (good job on the title, Ms. Newman!) in the book, particularly the first section in which objects (and character) around the events of Shepard’s beating and death are personified and made to seem more human in their sadness (“But when I saw him/between the two of them//trapped in that truck/it made me want to heave,” says the road in Road Rage, a road which has seen death before and is very desensitized towards it generally) than his his murderers, “two local boys/(with hearts removed)” (p4). Even The Doctor, who has also seen a lot of blood and gore and is described as quite sterile, “keeps bawling/like a newborn/every time he sees//what’s left of that boy” (p 25).
This personification seems to be an attempt to make the horror of Matthew’s fate more unbearable, more unbelievable for the reader. Even the fence, even the road, even the clothesline (a poem which does not explicitly state it is from the perspective of the clothesline aside from its title and can be read as Matthew narrating as well) feel for this victim...
Drama was a fun and quick read. The drama is both emotional and on-stage, as implied the title as well as the fact that the book is broken into acts r...moreDrama was a fun and quick read. The drama is both emotional and on-stage, as implied the title as well as the fact that the book is broken into acts rather than chapters, including an “Overture,” “Intermission,” and curtain call for Callie at “The End” of the book. This easy dramatic shorthand using in the literary and visual medium (also major components of live theatre!) reminds readers (or at least me) of the title’s double entendre as well as focusing the spotlight on the star of this particular performance, Callie.
Age and Readership
As a former crew member (lighting, costume design, and acting in musicals) who was die-hard in her commitment to school plays (beginning in high school. Raina Telgemeier was also involved in theatre “[a]s a teenager,” according to the author’s note) the primary setting of Callie’s story is one familiar to me.
Drama takes place in middle school, however, not high school. What differences stood out to me?