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Having Once Paused: Poems of Zen Master Ikkyu (1394-1481)

Having Once Paused: Poems of Zen Master Ikkyu (1394-1481) (Paperback)

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The influence of Zen Master Ikky? (1394-1481) permeates the full field of medieval Japanese aesthetics. Though best known as a poet, Ikky? was central to the shaping and reshaping of practices in calligraphy, Noh theater, tea ceremony, and rock gardening, all of which now define Japan's sense of its cultural tradition. A lifelong outsider to religious establishments, Ikky? nonetheless accepted an imperial command to rebuild his home temple, Daitoku-ji, destroyed in the civil wars. He died before that project was complete.

Ikky?'s work is allusion rich, and, as is common to his Tang poetic models, Ikky?'s verse makes frequent allusion to elements from the full range of China's cultural history and literature. He draws as well from a variety of Buddhist texts in Chinese, including its koans. Two Chinese words-"the dropping of rain" or "the King of Chu"-may be suffi cient to conjure a full account of drama, romance, enlightenment, or degradation. Ikky? simply assumes a readership as well educated as he. Faced with this richness, translators have generally chosen one of two solutions. Some have expanded Ikky?'s line to include as much information as possible. Others have added extensive annotations. By contrast, Messer and Smith, who represent an exciting combination of contemporary poetic and scholarly expertise, have retold those stories in a brief introduction to each poem, as Ikky? himself might have heard them. Thus the poem emerges as a response to those circumstances.

Fiction & PoetryPoetryPoetry by individual poets Publisher: The University of Michigan Press Publication Date: 02/06/2015 ISBN-13: 9780472052561  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Sarah Messer is a well-regarded lyric poet and Associate Professor in Creative Writing at UNC-Wilmington, USA. Kidder Smith is Professor of History and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College, USA.

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