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Murmured ConversationsA Treatise on Poetry and Buddhism by the Poet-Monk Shinkei$
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Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804748636

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804748636.001.0001

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Criticism is a Function of One's Own Limitations

Criticism is a Function of One's Own Limitations

(p.73) Twenty-Three Criticism is a Function of One's Own Limitations
Murmured Conversations
Stanford University Press

Shinkei argues that unless the poet has a profound understanding of the Way, he is incapable of making a criticism of superior work. In this chapter, he insists that mere competence or skill (jōzu, tassha) is different from a keen perceptivity. This view is related to his statement in Sasamegoto II that understanding and appreciating someone else's verse is more difficult than to compose one's own. The importance of perceptivity over and above execution reflects the central role of kokoro in his poetics. For the poet who possesses the requisite technical competence, the quality of his mind as it relates to the external universe in the act of composition determines the quality of the verse or poem. The poet with a keener and more profound mind will be able to compose a better poem. Shinkei's emphasis on perceptivity is intimately linked to the unique character of poetic composition in renga.

Keywords:   Shinkei, Japanese poetry, criticism, perceptivity, renga, kokoro, Sasamegoto, poetic composition

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