Murmured Conversations is the first complete and rigorously annotated translation of Sasamegoto (14631464), considered the most important and representative poetic treatise of the medieval period in Japan because of its thoroughgoing construction of poetry as a way to attain, and signify through language, the mental liberation (satori) that is the goal of Buddhist practice. It is a fascinating document revealing the central place of Buddhist philosophy in medieval Japanese artistic practices. Shinkei (14061475), the author of the treatise, is himself a major poet, regarded as the most brilliant among the practitioners of linked poetry (renga) in the Muromachi Period.
Along with the extensive annotations, Ramirez-Christensen's commentaries illuminate the significance of each section of the treatise within the context of waka and renga poetics, of the history of classical Japanese aesthetic principles in general and of Shinkei's thought in particular, and the role of Buddhism in the contemporary understanding of cultural practices like poetry. This is the most comprehensive presentation available in English of a major classical Japanese critical text.