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The poems in <italic>Antler</italic> are perhaps best described through the methods used to write them. The earliest poems in the collection--those written first, such as "Before" and "Joint"--are attempts to linger in an event or memory, to allow the imagination to elaborate and recreate without any particular end in mind. Some of the poems--"The Lake," for example, or "Long Black Veil"--are explorations in juxtaposition and layering. Later poems, like "To Someone," are focused on incorporating sound and song at the earliest stages of composition and onward. Many of these poems seek to capture family stories. Others explore "family" in a larger sense: "our" (people's) connections to each other, to art or nature, and to wonder and disaster.