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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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Marks and Grade Points in Renga

Marks and Grade Points in Renga

(p.116) Thirty-Seven Marks and Grade Points in Renga
Murmured Conversations
Stanford University Press

In waka, renga, and later, haikai, practitioners submitted their work to their teacher or other respected poets for evaluation. The teacher would scrutinize the poem before giving a “grade” for each verse or poem through marks or points called ten. As renga spread widely among the commoners, self-proclaimed judges who hand out grades proliferated. These were the tenja, professional “referees” who arbitrated on rules and points in exchange for a sum for their services. Many of these referees seemed to be only nominal priests with no clerical office or rank, and who did not write out comments or care to examine the verses they received from a serious pedagogical motivation. It is therefore not surprising that Shinkei insisted on strictness and thoroughness in handing out marks, perhaps because he thought the marks handed out by professional tenja were useless.

Keywords:   waka, renga, Japanese poetry, ten, tenja, Shinkei, haikai, marks, grades

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