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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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Constant Practice Is Decisive

Constant Practice Is Decisive

(p.77) Twenty-Five Constant Practice Is Decisive
Murmured Conversations
Stanford University Press

When Master Bontōan abandoned the Way of Poetry and wandered around the provinces of Azuma and Tsukushi for many years, someone remarked that he must have lost his touch completely. Bontō replied that he has not lost his touch, because “it is precisely outside the renga session that one practices true renga!” Bontō's answer implies that a significant part of renga training happens outside the session and necessarily consists of voluntary practice. In other words, he is drawing a distinction between practice and performance. Shinkei cites Bontō's remark to suggest that the intuitive poetic faculty shown in a renga performance depends on a constant and strenuous process of self-examination outside of it. The performance offers an opportunity to analyze where one has failed and how he/she can improve.

Keywords:   Shinkei, practice, renga, Japanese poetry, Bontō, performance, self-examination

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