Someday my poetry, which builds on Crane, will help justify his work. Reviews like Kirsch's - despite his many positive & perceptive comments - are still designed on a logic of dismissal. Crane's work & life were not perfect, but that shouldn't be the main issue.
I would suggest going back to look at Crane's own logic & epic argument. Langdon Hammer's critical studies help in that direction. Crane's argument with Eliot's pessimism (about the world, about America) parallels the positions of WCW and Stevens, yet with a difference.
I look at Crane through the lenses of Mandelstam's practice - his elliptical, evocative imagery - as well as his debate with Russian Symbolism. The commitments of what the Russians called "Acmeism" (as practiced by Mandelstam, Gumilev, Akhmatova) had to do with an optimism about the earth and world, a grateful attitude toward temporal things, which opposed itself to the otherworldliness, pessimism & withdrawal of Symbolism, and offered grounds for epic-celebratory modes, which Crane also explored.