Empty Pockets

Stories by Dale Herd

February 3, 2015 • 5.5 x 8.25 • 228 Pages • 978-1-56689-377-0

Easy Rider short fiction—gritty, unsparing snapshots of just getting by in barrooms and diners on the margins of America.

From high school love notes to a drug runner’s day; from a motel room abortion to a cross-country breakup, Dale Herd’s stories travel the backroads of America to present us with postcard revelations of life as it is lived.

About the Author

Dale Herd is the author of three short story collections: Early Morning Wind (The Four Seasons Foundation, 1972), Diamonds (Mudra, 1976), and Wild Cherries (Tombouctou, 1980). He currently lives in California.

Thanks to a 2013 ADA Access Improvement Grant administered by VSA Minnesota for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, this title is also formatted for screen readers which make text accessible to the blind and visually impaired. To purchase this title for use with a screen reader please call (612) 338-0125 or email us at info@coffeehousepress.org.


“A world takes place here with extraordinary economy: articulate, fragile, heartfelt.” —Robert Creeley

“Herd’s pieces are tightly crafted, many honing in on a single scene or conversation. His sharp prose cuts cleanly in and out of the lives of his myriad protagonists.” Foxing Review

Empty Pockets collects nineteen new and sixty-four previously published stories from one of America’s masters of the form.” Largehearted Boy

“Nineteen new stories by Herd join the sixty-four selected picks, making for a fictional world that is uniquely his.” Lively Arts

“The seemingly simple beauty of the language sets ‘Handcrafted Dolls’ apart. There is no flash here, just verbal magic of a special type. If you love to read, you’ll be thinking, This is what words in a story ought to do.” Electric Literature

“Dale Herd’s writing has affected the way I look at the world, as well as opening me up to one more possibility of how to transform the world into words, and his books certainly deserve a place on the highest shelf.” American Book Review

Empty Pockets provides a fine overview to the work of a writer whose work eludes easy description, but remains ahead of its time. Whether in his blending of the traditional and the experimental, or in distilling stories down to a precisely phrased form, these stories offer plenty to savor.” —Star Tribune

“Join me in re-discovering this gritty, unsparing and fresh voice.” The Quivering Pen

“There is no one better at the short story than Dale Herd. Unmatched for candor, swiftness, scale of incident. . . . The immediacy you feel is of the particular moment taken and followed. Fortunately, a goodly sampling of what he’s been up to over the past forty-something years is bound together in the new Empty Pockets. Dale is a writer to converse with, always good to hear.” Bird & Beckett Bookstore

“Herd’s anonymity has made discovering Empty Pockets even more special, like finding the next great band and hearing them play in a hole in the wall bar instead of a sold out arena.” —Queen Mobs Teahouse

“Herd is still one of the great prose stylists and most economical of story tellers (some of his stories are half a page) and a master of creating characters and the lives they live, and the world they live them in, with a simple page long monologue or a page and a half of dialogue, or less.” Lally’s Alley