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Indian poetry and Indian literature in general, has a long history dating back to Vedic times. They were written in various Indian languages such as Vedic Sanskrit, Classical Sanskrit, Tamil, Odia, Maithili, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, Assamese, Urdu, and Hindi. Poetry in foreign languages such as Persian and English also has a strong influence on Indian poetry. The poetry reflects diverse spiritual traditions within India. In particular, many Indian poets have been inspired by mystical experiences. Poetry is the oldest form of literature and has a rich written and oral tradition.
Indian poetry awards
There are very few literary awards in India for poetry alone. The prestigious awards like Jnanapeeth, Sahitya Akademi and Kalidas Samman etc. are given away to writers of both prose and poetry. Most of the awards have gone to novelists. Few poets have received these awards.
The following poets have won the Jnanpith award for their poetry: Firaq Gorakhpuri for his Gul-e-Naghma (1969), [Kavi Samrat Viswanatha Satyanarayana] for his Ramayana kalpa vruksham in Telugu (1970), Amrita Pritam for her Kagaz te Kanvas (1981), Qurratulain Hyder for her Akhire Sab ke Humsafar Singireddi Narayana Reddi for his Viswambhara in Telugu ((1988)1989) and O. N. V. Kurup for his contribution to Malayalam poetry (2007). Viswanatha Satyanarayana for Sreemadraamaayana Kalpavrukshamu, C. Narayanarerddy for Viswambhara and [Ravuri bhardwaaja] for his novel Paakuduraallu (Telugu) (2012).
Ananda Puraskar and Rabindra Puraskar
Ananda Bazar Patrika have instituted the annual Ananda Puraskar for Bengali literature. There is also Rabindra Puraskar. But these awards have usually gone to novelists. The rare poets to have won these awards include Premendra Mitra for Sagar Theke Phera (1957), Buddhadeb Basu for Swagato Biday (1974), Aruna Mitra for Suddhu Rater Shabda (1979), Joy Goswami for Ghumeichho (1990), Srijato for Uranto Sab Joker (2004) and Pinaki Thakur for Chumbaner Kshato (2012).
Sahitya Akademi Awards
Sahitya Akademi gives away annual prizes for both original works of poetry in the recognised Indian languages, as well as outstanding works of translation of Indian poetry. The award winners for English poetry include Jayanta Mahapatra for Relationship (1981), Nissim Ezekiel for Latter-Day Psalms (1983), Keki N. Daruwalla for The Keeper of the Dead (1984), Kamala Das for Collected Poems (1985), Shiv K. Kumar for Trapfalls in the Sky (1987), Dom Moraes for Serendip (1994), A. K. Ramanujan for Collected Poems (1999) and Jeet Thayil for These Errors are Correct (1912). Prominent Akademi awardees for poetry in other Indian languages include H. S. Shivaprakash (Kannada) and K. Satchidanandan (Malayalam). Other eminent Sahitya Akademi award-winning poets include Amrita Pritam (Punjabi) for Sunehe (1956), V. K. Gokak (Kannada) for Divya Prithvi (1960), G. Sankara Kurup (Malayalam) for Viswadarshanam (1963), Kusumagraj (Marathi) for Natsamrat (1974), Kaifi Azmi (Urdu) for Awara Sajde (1975), Sunil Gangopadhyay (Bengali) for Sei Somoy (1984), Kanhaiyalal Sethia (Rajasthani) for Lilatamsa (1984), Hiren Bhattacharyya (Assamese) for Saichor Pathar Manuh (1992), Gunturu Seshendra Sarma (Telugu) for Kaala Rekha (1994), Srinivas Rath (Sanskrit) for Tadaiva Gaganam Shaivadhara (1999) and Pratibha Satpathy (Odia) for Tanmaya Dhuli (2001).
Eighteen poets have won Sahitya Akademi Awards in Telugu language.
Indian Literature Golden Jubilee Poetry Awards
On the occasion of its Golden Jubilee, Sahitya Akademi awarded the following prizes for outstanding works of poetry in translation from Indian languages.
- Rana Nayar for his translation of the verses of the Sikh saint Baba Farid from Punjabi.
- Tapan Kumar Pradhan for English translation of his own Odia poem collection Kalahandi
- Paromita Das for English translation of Parvati Prasad Baruwa's poems in Assamese.
All India Poetry Champions
The Poetry Society (India) gives annual awards solely for poetry. The following poets have won the annual prizes instituted by the Poetry Society (India) in collaboration with British Council and Ministry of Human Resource Development (India):
- 1988: Vijay Nambisan for "Madras Central"
- 1990: Rukmini Bhaya Nair for "Kali"
- 1991: Rajlukshmee Debee Bhattacharya for "Punarnava"
- 1993: Shampa Sinha for "Siesta"; Tarun Cherian for "A Writer's Prayer"
- 1994: Anju Makhija for "A Farmer's Ghost"; Smita Agarwal for "Our Foster Nurse of Nature is Repose"
- 1995: Tabish Khair for "Birds of North Europe"; Gopi Krishnan Kottoor for "The Coffin Maker"
- 1997: Ranjit Hoskote for "Portrait of a Lady"; Gopi Kottoor for "Digging"
- 1998: K. Sri Lata for "In Santa Cruz, Diagnosed Home Sick"
- 2000: Shahnaz Habib for "Of Hypocrisy and Cheekbones"; Revathy Gopal for "I Would Know You Anywhere"
- 2013: Mathew John for "Another Letter from Another Father to Another Son"; Tapan Kumar Pradhan for "The Buddha Smiled"
Western thinkers and poets interested in Indian poetry
In the 19th century, American Transcendentalist writers and many German Romantic writers became interested in Indian poetry, literature and thought. In the 20th century, few Western poets became interested in Indian thought and literature, and the interest of many of those was minor: T. S. Eliot studied Sanskrit at Harvard, but later lost interest. Buddhism brought Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder to India, but they became more interested in Tibetan and Japanese forms of the religion. Mexican poet and writer Octavio Paz developed a strong, lasting interest in Indian poetry after living in the country as part of the Mexican diplomatic mission (and as ambassador in the 1960s). Paz married an Indian woman, translated Sanskrit kavyas, and wrote extensively about India.
- List of Indian poets
- The Poetry Society (India)
- Indian literature
- List of Indian English poetry anthologies
- Journal : Indian Literature
- Sahitya Akademi Award
- List of Sahitya Akademi Award winners for English
- "Sahitya Akademi Award 2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-01-24. Retrieved 2013-08-02.
- Weinberger, Eliot, "Introduction", A Tale of Two Gardens: Poems from India, 1952-1995 by Octavio Paz, translated by Eliot Weinberger, New Directions Publishing, 1997, ISBN 978-0-8112-1349-3, retrieved via Google Books on January 19, 2009
- Kavishala. "Kavishala - The School of Poets".