Among other honors, Antler received the Whitman Prize from the Walt Whitman Association, given to the poet "whose contribution best reveals the continuing presence of Walt Whitman in American poetry," in 1985. Antler also was awarded the Witter Bynner prize in 1987. Antler was the poet laureate of the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for 2002 and 2003. He is also an advocate for wilderness protection.
Education and career
Antler received a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 1970. Later he completed a master's degree in English from the same university after spending some time at the noted Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. During the 1970s he also worked at various factory and other jobs just long enough to get money to support his poetry writing and time spent in wilderness areas across the United States.
Antler's first major work, the long poem Factory, was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights Bookstore in 1980. Allen Ginsberg declared him as "one of Whitman's `poets and orators to come'". The collection Last Words appeared in 1986 from Ballantine Books, and Antler: The Selected Poems was published in 2000 by Soft Skull Press. He has also published several chapbooks and has contributed to numerous local, national, and international journals and anthologies.
Antler's work exhibits a punk sensibility, an unabashed sense of humor and a cutting satirical edge. His work reflects the influences of Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg, and the American traditions of transcendentalism and environmentalism. He celebrates the wilderness, often comparing urban, industrial life unfavorably with natural phenomena. His frank, sometimes earthy poems frequently exhibit sexual and spiritual energy entwined with the wonder of the natural world.
- Factory - (1980) City Lights
- Last Words - (1986) Ballantine
- Antler: The Selected Poems - (2000) Soft Skull Press
- Whitman Award from the Whitman Society of Camden, New Jersey
- Witter Bynner Prize from the Academy & Institute of Arts and Letters in New York
- Jim Higgins, "Antler continues to explore wilderness" Milwaukee Sentinel March 13, 1986.
- Sharma-Jensen, Geeta. "Poet Antler answers, celebrates the call of the wild." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 21, 2001.
- Published in "Van Gogh's Ear", French Connection Press, 2004.
- "Re-arm America Vs. Re-Fellatio America", poem - published in "Van Gogh's Ear", French Connection Press, 2004.
- "Stands To Reason", poem - published in "Van Gogh's Ear", French Connection Press, 2004.
- Nelson, Howard. "The Work of Antler." The Hollins Critic, June 1998. Reprinted in Twayne Companion to Contemporary Literature in English, edited by R.H.W. Dillard and Amanda Cockrell, pp. 21–34. New York: Twayne Publishers, 2003.