T H E H O R S E M E N D E R
The Horsemender is an ecological novel set in a dustbowl-era American future. In a fertile but brutally colonized valley, the protagonist relies on handwritten notes in the margins of her veterinary manual, an ancient heirloom, to care for the horses that plow the fields. Soon her mysterious family past returns, forcing her to contend with the divisive effects of colonialism and our ever-evolving relationship with the more-than-human world.
S Y N O P S I S
Sixteen-year-old Cora is a horsemender, one of the last. Raised and trained by her grandfather, Wayland, she cares for the valuable horses of Late Valley, where farmers scrape out a living under constant threat of dust storms. In the west looms the Drowned Coast, ruins of a world that collapsed a century ago, leaving behind a poisoned earth, desperate hunger, and unexplained infertility among animals.
Shortly before Cora’s birth, Henry's Valley was annexed by the New Republic—a rag-tag empire spreading across much of North America, consolidating valuable salvage, farmland, and fertile animals. Though the New Republic offers protection against raiders, Cora can’t help but resent their crippling grain tax, their laws that require her to report pregnant animals, and the young soldiers who harass her on the road.
She is stunned when a soldier appears on her and Wayland’s doorstep one night, asking for her mother, Silvia. All Cora knows about Silvia is that she left shortly after Cora was born. Cora's confusion grows when Wayland agrees to help the desperate stranger.
Soon more soldiers arrive in pursuit of this visitor. They attack Wayland and force Cora to flee with the fugitive who destroyed her home. She is thrown into a journey that leads deeper and deeper into her mother’s past—and the truth about how much the earth has lost.
Heavy Lead Birdsong
Collection from Write Bloody Publishing
In this collection of quietly explosive love poems, angels write graffiti prayer lists, an old man plants an orchard inside his chest, and early humans trek across the Ice Age tundra, carrying the secret of how we have made it this far.
"Ryler Dustin is hands down the most exciting young poet I have encountered in ten years of coast-to-coast travels through the poetry underground. Read this book. You'll find him telling you truths, like all great poets, that he has no right to know."
—Jack McCarthy, author of Drunks and Other Poems of Recovery
86 pages, perfect bound | Cover art by Scott Winters
$20 (includes shipping)