Professor Nie Zhenzhao has led the way in developing the field known as ethical criticism. Much of the writing in this newly emerging field has focused on modern works of fiction and on the ethical dimensions and decisions of fictional characters. A reading of innovative American poetry poses a range of interesting questions and challenges for the development of ethical criticism. In this essay, I offer a range of questions that might enlarge and critique the methods and scope of ethical criticism. As one example, I cite the challenges presented by the work (and life) of George Oppen. More fundamentally, I will problematize or re-locate the ethical dimension-from the second-hand reading of fictional works to a sense of the reader/critic engaged in first-hand ethical experience, choices, and action through a multi-dimensional engagement with innovative poetry. I also present an example of how such ethical criticism might work through the reading of a poem by Larry Eigner. In addition, I trace some parallels (of the particular ethical epistemology involved in reading and engaging innovative poetry) to the considerable ethical and epistemological differences in the contemporaneous writings of Confucius and Lao Tzu (thus briefly contrasting Confuciansim and Daoism and pointing toward the imprecise and enigmatic nature of knowing found in Daoism).