The only way I seem to leap into the breach and try something new and scary is when I am forced to by circumstances. Now I am teaching a graduate class in critical theory online. True, it's nothing like the sort of graduate class I had at U.C.I. . Well, the material is the same, but the methods, being online, are looser and much more forgiving to the student.
I don't think that's a bad thing. This material should not be reserved for the elite, the way it was when I went to graduate school. But of course, it isn't cutting edge anymore, as it was then, so it's infiltrated everywhere. All grad students probably get an opportunity to be exposed to it.
Its practical use is questionable, but for a writer, it gives me a different way to think about the endeavor of reading and interpreting literature, and that is welcome. And perhaps, material for poems.
I am meaning to write an essay about the way writers tend to feel about theory. When I first began graduate school, I felt it was a sort of adversary. After all, Derrida and the Deconstructionists insisted on the irrelevancy of the author, the author's death or non-existence, and unraveled all the beautiful skeins of language, insisting they were powerless against entropy and lack of meaning.
But the truth is, he was just another writer, putting language through its tricks.