Bruns does not provide an answer to the question of what poets are for, but he does provide an extended answer to the question of what poets do: a great many things, in a great many ways.
A man in his library, padding from shelf to shelf, drifting from book to book, running his fingers along dusty spines, maybe reading a sentence or two before moving on — if this sort of belles-lettristic languor strikes your fancy, then Life Sentences might be for you.
Buffet World is experimental poetry’s answer to The Omnivore’s Dilemma, interspersing verse renderings of “fun facts” about the food industry (at times troubling, at times whimsical, at times both) with found images of artery-clogging comestibles.
Since it’s a Franz Wright book, it comes as no surprise that Kindertotenwald discovers and traverses new emotional spaces, new ways of naming desire, loneliness, guilt, and grief—from a poet with a long track-record of piercing, lucid insight into the human condition, we could hardly expect otherwise.
By forcing us to confront the unintelligible, the boring, the insipid, and the illegible, conceptual poetics gives us no choice but to circumvent unreadability and discover new modes of reading and new spaces for interaction with literary texts.