Member Rara Avis
There's a thread in Philosophy right now, Raph, where one of Jim's posts offers some very strong evidence for exactly your point. No, it's not about classifying poetry. It's about classifying school children and the way doing so both sets our expectations and, too many times, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I've been aware of some of the statistics behind Jim's linked article for several years, and have heard them used as arguments against everything from I.Q. tests to standardized grades. If a teacher expects a child to do poorly, whether because of gender or race or economic status, that expectation inevitably seems to filter through to the child. Labels lead to expectations, and expectations lead to limitations.
So, yea, I understand your point. I certainly don't like seeing it happen to our kids, and I wouldn't appreciate seeing it happen to poetry.
If I thought doing away with labels and classifications was a viable answer, I would endorse it in a heartbeat. But I don't think it's viable because I don't think it's possible. Look at any child on the street and your mind is automatically going to label them male or female, black or white, rich or poor. Labels are part of language, and language is what allows us to think and to communicate.
The answer isn't to get rid of labels, but to get rid of the stereotypes we too often associate with labels. That's why I think questions like "What is dark poetry?" are valuable. Probably more than any other form, dark poetry is plagued by stereotypes, and even if no one here agrees with anyone else, at least people are being forced to think outside those stereotypes.
I just wish we could get our teachers to do the same thing.