Wondering on coffee break about why I react this way to the grid method of criticism.

Seems important to decide what is the purpose of your device. Critics love to qualify & compare different writers (& baseball players), but the project of appreciating, reviewing, or evaluating a particular poem, book, or poet should, it seems to me, try to develop a complete or holistic critical response (as far as possible). This inevitably involves responding to unique & peculiar qualities (originality), the sum of which (the oeuvre itself) cannot, without extreme abstraction & caricature, be reduced to a point on a grid.

If, on the other hand, the critic's purpose is to evaluate or characterize general trends or period styles, then I guess a grid of opposing qualities might be useful. A grid presents a certain facade of objectivity or impersonality; the critic is offering judgements, the authority of which is not based on supposedly subjective rhetorical qualities (the style of the critical discourse), but on a sort of "scientific" literary GPS system.

But a grid has a certain freeze-frame fixity to it, which seems to pose problems for its accuracy or applicability, when you think of the diverse & distinctive powers & talents of different poets. As I stated in an earlier response to the method, it seems that interesting poets transcend or overcome the faults of "period styles" from any quarter of any grid - so that the GPS system no longer applies - they are off the map.

[Nevertheless, I do also recognize that there is some creative fun involved in devising these diagrams...]

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