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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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Valorizing the Deviant or Obscure

Valorizing the Deviant or Obscure

(p.79) Twenty-Six Valorizing the Deviant or Obscure
Murmured Conversations
Stanford University Press

This chapter considers the tendency of rustic poets to dismiss those verses that differ from their own as obscure or deviant. It discusses the idea of pluralism and the notion that a limited mind is incapable of comprehending superior poetry. The argument is laid as a question of means and ends but is grounded on kokoro. The gifted poet must first experience poetic inspiration before deciding on the style or configuration that will best express it. In contrast, the ungifted poet begins with a predetermined style—the orthodox one—which molds his mind, resulting in poetry that sounds like everyone else's. In Sasamegoto II, Shinkei declares that such poets mistake the means for the end and, owing to their lack of imagination, produce bad imitations. Isolation might cause pain to the gifted poet, but it gives him the wisdom to be true to his own poetic vision.

Keywords:   Japanese poetry, kokoro, Shinkei, Sasamegoto, poets, style, imagination

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