My disagreement with APD was both profound and trivial. I disagreed with him about major issues and minor details, about Spanish poetry and poetry itself, and about how to write about it, what constituted good scholarship. (The two of us agreed with each other that I was very smart, but that was about all.) My motives in disagreeing with him were both principled and grounded in some petty resentment.
I think he was a little resentful about smart people in the field who were not within his circle, like Silver and Soufas. These people were smarter than he was and he knew it. He had a sizable ego, and wanted things to revolve around himself, to some extent. He had disciples, something that I would never want to have even if I could.
His writing is utterly banal, and many of his assertions are absolutely contentless in that they could apply to any and all poetry. His style was clear but not elegant. To the extent that he puts forward an assertion with any arguable content, his view is usually mistaken. He thought that modernist poetics was about putting forward assertions that could be paraphrased. In a translation of a famous line by Mallarmé: "To name the object" he adds another word that destroys Mallarmé's point: "Merely to name the object..." That makes no sense at all. If naming the object suppresses three quarters of the pleasure, how does it make sense to say "merely" to name it? With this conception of modernism, he had no understanding of postmodernism, because he saw everything there as new even when it was a continuation of the most basic modernist principles.
He came up with the New Critics, yet somehow missed the lesson on the heresy of paraphrase. He interpreted the great Spanish poets in terms of Anglo-American New Criticism, making them dull and reinforcing the most conservative part of their legacy: the stylistics of Dámaso Alonso. He tried to take Perloff's idea of "indeterminacy" but didn't quite get it.
He thought just using theory was sufficient. It didn't matter whether you used it well or not, or understood it. His students would cite the same damned essay by Hillis Miller in every article they published. He thought it was better to be interesting than to be right, but he was "interesting" in a very dull way.
He is given credit with creating the field as we know it. It is true that the other leading critics of his generation didn't have his impact. He had a bigger personality, more students, was a nicer guy. But then I find the field itself doesn't have that much prestige. Some people I know who specialize in narrative only read my work and ignore that of anyone else. I get told I'm not like those other specialists in poetry. Thankfully there are others coming along who are not influenced any more by APD.
Nobody has every told me I am wrong about him, only that I shouldn't say it. Perhaps I still shouldn't.